Offset training refers to loading one side of your body (asymmetrical loading) to make lower-body exercises like the Lunge and Split Squat more challenging.
Offset training can be performed by holding/carrying weight on one side of the body only, or by staggering (unevenly distributing) the weight, which can be accomplished with dumbbell or barbell exercises. Obviously, the greater the disparity of the offset/weight distribution, the greater the demand on stability.
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One of the benefits of offset training is greater muscular engagement. For example, when performing offset Lunges, holding the weight in the hand opposite your working leg engages your glutes more, while holding it in the other hand emphasizes your quads. Offset, alternating, walking Lunges are a great way to engage all the major lower-body muscle groups, while also challenging the core. Try varying the placement of the load by carrying the weight at shoulder level, or letting it hang suspended at arm’s length.
Offset training can also be a useful upper-body training strategy—e.g., performing a Dumbbell Bench Press while holding dumbbells of different weights in each hand.
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Offset Farmer’s Walks can be performed with a variety of different weight distributions while maintaining the same total load. You will challenge your core strength and stability to a greater extent when the offset is larger. Start with a reasonable weight differential and gradually increase as you become more proficient.
The benefits of offset training include:
- Development of a stronger and more stable core
- Reduce lateral muscular imbalances
- Improve kinetic chain engagement
- Enhance power performance
- Improve athletic performance