Odd Object Lifting for the Indestructible Fighter
by Marcus Martinez
Last time I checked an opponent doesn't have a handle. His weight is not evenly dispersed and he sure as hell moves a lot when you try to hit or submit him. All the more reason why every fighter should be using Odd Object Lifting in their training arsenal.
What is Odd Object Lifting?
Any weight that is unevenly dispersed could constitute for an Odd Object. When I was 18 I was at my then girlfriend's lake house with her cousins. I spent three hours throwing kids in the lake and SHIT was I sore in places I normally wasn't. Sure a heavy set of dead lifts or overhead presses can get the work done, but this was different. I realized right then that by picking up a weight which was uneven (and then throwing it) was amazingly effective at hitting EVERY muscle in my body and was fun as hell.
Some other objects besides medium-sized kids that you can lift:
- atlas stones or heavy ass rocks
- heavy clubs
- another consenting adult
- literally ANYTHING heavy!
Odd Objects provide the body with a training stimulus that mimics an opponent more than most forms of lifting. They force you to stay in a near constant state of tension that will dramatically increase overall body strength, power and control.
Besides the obvious fact that by lifting heavy things you will get stronger you also increase your own body awareness. By lifting a weight that's shifting around, doesn't have a balanced center or is INCREDIBLY hard to grip you have to focus a greater amount of attention at the task at hand making you aware at EVERY movement necessary to hoist that weight up. This type of training has benefits beyond crushing your opponent.
Odd Object Lifting makes you comfortable in uncomfortable positions. Because of that body awareness you develop it will also help keep you injury free. Since you are being insanely mindful of the task at hand you're not just half-assedly throwing weights around. Think about those times you've hurt yourself. Was it when you were completely focused or was it when someone called your name in the gym and you stupidly looked? That's what I thought.
How about we get into some specifics now, shall we? Let's take a heavy sandbag you plan to raise to each shoulder. Similar to Olympic lifting and ballistic kettlebell work (snatches, cleans, juggling) there are lots of moving parts.
You set up over the sand bag with your hands around the sides (using the handles defeats the purpose). You tighten up you core, control your breath and while driving with your legs pull as hard you can to get that dead weight up to your shoulder. Here's where the magic lies. As you start to pull all that sand says to each other, "hey guys, this idiot thinks he's going to lift us. Let's all run in different directions and make this as hard as possible." So while the weight on a barbell is evenly distributed the sandbag moves all over the place changing the focus of the lift the entire time. Since that weight is transferring you have to compensate all while maintaining strict form and alternating between relaxation and tension.
Sounds a lot like a suplex with an opponent flailing around, right?
So, how does one get started throwing around stupid heavy, moving odd objects? Well, in this case start small and start light to get the feel for it.
Let's take keg cleans. Don't fill a keg to the brim and then expect to lift it the first time. If you've spent your life in the gym lifting barbells and using machines you'll be in for a rude awakening. Treat the lift as the only thing you're doing rather than incorporating it into a circuit. Get used to the lift and practice the movement first and foremost. Set the timer for 60 seconds and clean it (we're still on the keg in this scenario, but the tool isn't important.) Reset after each lift. Rest two to three minutes just as you would with a power or Olympic lift and repeat for 3-4 more sets. Once you've got the hang of it you can start adding the weight.
If you're advanced you're going to do the same thing, but you're going to increase the time to 90 seconds to 2 minutes and move a little faster performing as many perfect reps as possible. As long as you're not feeling pain or extreme discomfort speed it up. You'll find after a few reps you'll be hitting your cardio BIG TIME all while building strength. Have you ever watched the Strong man competitions on ESPN (of course you've spent half a Saturday watching four in a row. Who hasn't?) The atlas stones event is one of my favorites. The blend of strength, agility, power, work capacity and flexibility make it a lesson for all fighters. Move heavy things as quickly and safely as possible to create an indestructible athlete.
So, let's get out here, pick up heavy crap, throw it, run with it, pull and push it and above all else have have some fun doing it!
Marcus is the owner and founder of MBodyPro.com and the MBody Strength Training Center. MBodyPro is a site dedicated to spreading the word on making trainees better athletes. With over 150 streaming videos and tutorials you can get stronger and perform better no matter where you are in the world. He has trained professional fighters of all kinds including Cisco Rivera of the UFC, Ben Jones IFS Champ, Jack May of K1 and current 5-0 MMA Pro, and more. He was invited to perform his workshop on building stronger, better athletes in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has worked with members of the United States Secret Service.