For those of you who have been to my Tuesday and Thursday classes, you know that core and lower body workouts are my love, my passion, and my specialty. I love working these muscle groups, and I am always on the lookout for diverse training methods, workouts, and protocols to challenge them.
Today I want to talk about offset load training as it relates to your core. Whether you are an athlete, avid powerlifter, play sports, or just looking to improve your everyday functional fitness, we all need a strong core. It’s the foundation for any movement. Offset loading is an incredibly effective way to further challenge your core and develop greater core stability and strength.
So what is it?
Offset loading simply means that you create uneven distribution of weight when lifting. For example, you can do offset deadlifts by loading one side of the bar with a 30lb-plate and the other with a 10lb-plate. This creates an imbalance that challenges your core to contract and protect your spine, in order to maintain proper upright position. You are forced to resist lateral flexion (bending sideways) and rotation throughout each movement, working all the spinal stabilizers and core musculature.
Offset loading is not meant to be a substitution for regular weightlifting but an effective tool to supplement your workouts and break through plateaus. To be effective, this training protocol can be done every other week or once every several weeks. The weight difference can vary from 25% to X2 or even X3, depending on the exercise. I recommend 3-6 reps per side with 3 sets total. In the offset deadlift example above, you would load the left side of the barbell with a heavier plate, do 3-6 reps, then switch the weights and proceed to do 3-6 more reps.
Besides doing wonders for your core, offset load training will improve your coordination, motor control, form, and technique, as you have to synchronize the movements of two different loads in a smooth controlled manner.
What exercises work best for offset load training?
You can do it with most dumbbell or barbell exercises. Examples include deadlifts, plyo step ups, farmer’s walk, overhead presses, lunges, chest presses, curls, shoulder raises, and much more.
When doing the exercises, make sure to brace your core! Happy lifting!