What Qualifies as Unconventional Training?
The term “Unconventional Training” was developed 10 years ago, but there is still a lot of confusion about what it really means… find out here from the guy that made up the term in the first place.
A Short History
When I got into the fitness industry there was no set term to define the type of training I was doing. I was using kettlebells and other “alternative” training implements like maces, sledgehammers, clubs, sandbags, and odd objects for GPP (General Physical Preparedness).
What I found was that all the methods were somewhat similar in their movement types and the public’s perception of them as “unusual” exercise tools. Also, the motivation to use them rather than “standard” training tools like barbells, dumbbells, cable machines, and bodybuilding/rehab machines was similar among a group of sub-culture “underground” trainers like me.
For that reason, the term “Unconventional Training” was coined. I avoided trademarking the term because I wanted it to be spread; a decision I do not regret because it IS being used (and it would have been sold along with the assets of my previous company to another company).
The term “Unconventional Training” is confusing for a few reasons. For one, people think of the term “unconventional” as the same thing as “unusual” or “infrequently used” when it comes to “Unconventional Training” and this is wrong.
At this point the most popular Unconventional Training tool, the kettlebell, is widely used and is no longer unusual or infrequently used.
Unconventional Training is a formal designation for a TYPE OF TRAINING, not a description for an exercise, workout, or training tool. A tool (like a Macebell) can be considered “unconventional” but it can only be considered “Unconventional Training” when it is used in the proper way. Think of a barbell; just because you lift it off the ground you are not “Olympic Lifting” necessarily.
Along those same lines, Unconventional Training is NOT a state of mind, philosophy, or other abstract BS like that.
The term Unconventional Training was coined because it related to the basic features of Unconventional Warfare. Unconventional Warfare attempts to subvert an enemy’s capacity to wage war by indirectly attacking them through guerrilla operations. I won’t get into details, but in essence, Unconventional Warfare looks like a bunch of crazy nonsense to your enemy, but it systematically destroys them just the same.
Likewise, Unconventional Training LOOKS LIKE a bunch of craziness to an outside, unaccustomed observer, but it is actually connected to a SYSTEM that has set objectives and methodologies. Unconventional Training is sometimes substituted for the term “Mad Methods” because it relates to a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” In Unconventional Training, there is always a method to the madness.
Unconventional Warfare attempts to accomplish the same mission as Traditional Warfare: defeat the enemy. However, it does this using (ideally) more cost efficient means that avoid direct, full-scale confrontation. Likewise, Unconventional Training attempts to accomplish the mission of full-body capabilities using minimum time and equipment.
Unconventional Warfare attempts to overthrow or disrupt an occupying power through underground means, one of which involves training insurgents of the occupied territory to mount an effective resistance. Unconventional Training is attempting to disrupt the traditional mindset and methodology of the fitness industry by training people with new techniques that reinforce the “skill” of training using specific implements.
Once trained, users of the Unconventional Training technique should be able to train themselves independently, innovating and expanding their skill indefinitely.
The term Unconventional Training is actually a lot more complex than it sounds. It doesn’t just mean “different” or “underground,” it is a designator to describe specific training systems. Just because you swing a kettlebell, mace, or club, it doesn’t mean you’re doing “Unconventional Training.” To help you figure out if what you’re doing qualifies as Unconventional Training, use this list of questions.
The Unconventional Training Qualification Question List
Is Your Method a System?
Is the training method in question have a systematic approach to addressing specific objectives. Does it do it in a way that can be repeated, adapted, and applied to other objectives?
How Many Tools do you Need to Implement it?
Unconventional training uses the minimum amount of equipment to execute. If your method uses more than five types of equipment, it’s not unconventional training.
Can it be Taught?
The training method in question must be able to be taught to anyone. No matter their current skill level, fitness level, or fitness acumen.