Stroops – Asymmetrical Bar Training


Asymmetrical bar training (ABT) is a relatively new method of training that can enhance balance while improving core strength and rotational power. Essentially, ABT uses a rigid bar with resistance on only one end to create an unbalanced load to the exercise. This triggers the body’s natural tendency to counterbalance (“anti-rotate”) the force resulting in an increased challenge on the core muscles and spine stabilizers. Stuart McGill PhD who is a leading researcher on spine health related to exercise and sport performance states that “anti-rotation is a critical component for spine health and core performance.” Furthermore, ABT can be used to improve rotation force and creates a three dimensional movement throughout the body having a huge carryover into rotational sports like golf and baseball or even simple everyday activities like picking up your kids or doing yard work.

ABT can be used with a cable machine at the gym or more commonly, with resistance tubing. Exercises using movements like rotation, chopping, or even traditional exercises while stabilizing the bar from a variety of angles is a very effective way of adding another element to your fitness program. Begin with slower movements to build a solid foundation of balance and core strength. Once good control has been established, explosive and ballistic motions can be used for increasing power and improving conditioning.

Outlined below are three foundational exercises that will develop core strength, balance, power, and overall athleticism. Once you’ve mastered the basic movements, then add in the progressions for more challenge.

Chest Press:

Begin with your back facing the anchor point with the bar against your chest, making sure the resistance band in lined up with your right arm. Standing in a split stance with your left leg forward, engage your core muscles and press the bar away from you until your arms are both fully extended while keeping the bar at chest level. With control return the bar to the starting position and repeat the movement for 30 seconds then switch sides.

Progressions: Press from a neutral stance (feet hip width apart), add a forward step from neutral stance, add forward jump.

Stationary Lunge with Row:

Begin by facing the anchor point with the bar at chest level and your arms fully extended making sure the resistance band is lined up with your right arm. Standing in a split stance with your left leg forward, engage your core muscles, descend into your lunge and pull the bar toward you until it reaches your chest. With control return to the starting position and repeat the movement for 30 seconds then switch sides.

Progression: Add forward or backward movement to the lunge or try with a split jump

Low to High Chops (a.k.a. Slap Shots):

Begin in a split stance your left foot forward and your back facing the anchor point with the bar pointing towards the floor at approximately a 45 degree angle. Your right hand should be in an open (palms up) grip. Make sure the resistance band in lined up with your right arm and your hips are facing towards the bar.. Engage your core muscles and use your hips and arms to rotate the bar until your hips become square and the bar is parallel to the floor. With control return the bar to the starting position and repeat the movement for 30 seconds then switch sides.

Progression: Increase Speed and/or add in a shuffle

Places to find asymmetrical resistance bars:

Get ready for the slopes before the snow hits

For many of us, that winter chill in the air can only mean one thing – ski and snowboard season is right around the corner.

While we eagerly wait for the first snowflake to hit, there is no better time to get ready physically.

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced rider, the first day on the mountain can often be a humbling experience, leaving your body sore and exhausted. In our haste for fresh powder, it’s easy to forget the vigorous demands a day on the slopes brings. Why not make this the year you prepare for it?

While a traditional strength and cardio conditioning program is important for any sport, a solid ski-conditioning program should focus on improving core strength, power, balance and reactive components as well.

In conjunction with your current fitness routine, add these exercises into the mix two to three times a week, and you’ll feel more like master of the mountain this season.

SINGLE LEG BALANCE:  Stand with tall posture and contract your core muscles.  Slowly lift one leg 4-6 inches of the ground while maintaining balance and posture.  Balance for 1 minute and repeat on the opposite leg.  For more challenge, try balancing on a BOSU.

BOSU MOGUL HOPS:   Hold onto a stable object. Stand on top of a BOSU with your feet together, pointing at 11 o’clock with your knees slightly flexed.  Contract your abdominals, hop and rotate your body to 1 o’clock, sinking your hips as you land.  Quickly hop back to 11 o’clock and repeat from the 11 to 1 position for 30-60 seconds.  For more challenge, perform the exercise with no hands without compromising control.

BENCH DIPS:  Position your body perpendicular to a flat bench.  Place your hands just outside your hips.  Lift your hips up and slightly away from the bench, maintaining tall posture.  Keep your heels on the ground and your legs straight.  Staying upright, slowly lower yourself toward the ground until both arms are bent at a 90 degree angle.  Push yourself back to an upright position.  Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.  For an easier option, bend your legs to a 90 degree angle and repeat the same movement.

BOX JUMPS: Stand slightly behind a 12- to 24-inch box or platform. Squat down, and quickly jump on top of the box. Try to land softly, sinking your hips as you land. Step off of the box and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions. For an added challenge, jump continuously on and off of the box for the same number of repetitions.

SIDE PLANK: Lie on your side. Keep your body in a straight line with your legs stacked on top of one another. Prop your arm underneath your body. Position your opposite hand onto your hip. Contract your abs, and slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling until your body is positioned straight from head to toe. Hold for two to four seconds, and then slowly lower your hips to the floor. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions before switching sides. For an easier option, bend your legs at a 90-degree angle while performing the exercise.

ICE SKATERS: Stand and balance on your right leg with your core contracted. Hop sideways to your left side, squatting down and touching the ground across your body with your right arm. Stay low with your chest out, and quickly spring back to your right side repeating the same move, touching down with your left arm. With control, continue this sequence for 20 to 30 repetitions.

V-SIT w/MEDICINE BALL FIGURE 8’s:  Sit upright and recline a few inches while maintaining good posture.  Support your body weight on your sitting bones while keeping your chest out, shoulders back, and abdominals contracted.  Hold a 4-8 lbs. medicine ball in front of you, slowly move the ball in a figure 8 pattern while rotating your torso.  Repeat for 10 repetitions per side.

Jason Wanlass is the owner of Monster Personal Training & Athletic Conditioning in Meridian, has 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. Contact him at or

Feed your need for speed with these athletic drills

Speed and power anyone?

Many of us enjoy watching athletes perform amazing physical feats. Whether it’s Usain Bolt screaming down the track during the Olympic Games or Serena Williams hitting a rocket serve at Wimbledon, we can’t help but marvel at their athleticism.

The fact is, many of us are athletes at heart. And we can use some of the training methods the pros use to improve our overall fitness.

Incorporating athletic drills into a routine helps improve balance and coordination, increases our efficiency at speeding up and slowing down and increases our ability to change directions quickly. All of that is important for improved performance and injury prevention.

So whether you’re wanting to dominate in flag football this fall or just looking to add a variety to your routine, try adding these drills to the mix once or twice a week.

Perform these exercises after an active 15- to 20-minute warm-up.

REACTION BALL: Stand about four to six yards from a solid wall. Throw a reaction ball against the wall and try to catch it as it bounces back. If the ball gets past you, retrieve it as quickly as possible and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

40-YARD SPRINTS: Set up two cones 40 yards apart. Starting at one end, quickly run to the opposite side until you run past the cone. Gradually slow down, walk back to the starting point and repeat for four to six repetitions.

Note: If you have not sprinted in a while, run at 60-80 percent of your maximum speed.

AGILITY LADDER (LATERAL IN INS): Begin with your left side facing the agility ladder. Quickly shuffle down the ladder and back, landing on the balls of your feet, with both feet in each square. Repeat for two to three repetitions, then switch directions.

M-DRILL: You will need five cones for this drill. Begin by setting up four cones in a box formation, with each cone spaced 10 yards apart. Then place the fifth cone in the middle of the square.

To start the drill, begin at the bottom left corner (Cone 1). Quickly run to the cone straight ahead (Cone 2). Now, backpedal to the center cone (Cone 3), turn slightly right and run to the cone in the top right corner (Cone 4). Then backpedal to the final cone in the bottom right corner (Cone 5), then finish by sprinting through Cone 4 straight ahead. Return to Cone 1 and repeat for two to three reps before repeating the sequence in the opposite direction.

Hold a 6- to 12-pound medicine ball chest-level while standing about 3 to 5 feet from a solid wall. Beginning in an athletic stance, powerfully extend through your hips and legs as you throw the ball against the wall. The height of your throw should be about eye level. Drop into a quarter squat position as you catch the ball and repeat without pause for 30 seconds.

Contact Jason Wanlass, owner of Monster Personal Training & Athletic Conditioning in Meridian, at or