Unconventional exercises are the bees knees. They are a great way to break a mundane training cycle, as well as break the typical linear patterns we are all so used to training in. After the basic movements are mastered, adding in unconventional movements is necessary for helping your body adapt to chaos and bridging the gap between the weight-room and athletic field. A valuable lesson I’ve learned from my friend Smitty. Including an unconventional exercise or two will also prepare you to handle unruly couches, dressers and dudes that hit on your girlfriend at the mall (they deserve to be taught a lesson!).
One of my favorite exercises that the average gym goer won’t see every day is the One Arm Dumbbell Z Press. It may be a mouthful to say, but it is an exercise with boat load of benefits and carryover to other movements throughout life and the weight-room.
Check out the video:
The biggest benefit of the Z press is its training effect on core stability. Sitting on the floor without any back support puts serious demand on your anterior core muscles–there’s nothing to hold you upright and you can’t draw stability from your legs the same way you would if you were standing. Loading the Z Press unilaterally trains for some serious anti-rotation and anti-lateral flexion stability as well. It’s a great exercise for bullet proofing your core.
Believe it or not, the Z Press is also a great hamstring exercise. Stabilizing your body while sitting upright takes a serious isometric hamstring contraction. This is great for a couple of reasons.
The continued isometric contraction at full length not only builds strength, but also trains your hamstrings to relax–which is great news for we chair dwellers! For athletes, it also reduces the risk of hamstring injury as contraction at the end of hamstring range of motion is important for deceleration. I wish I would have been doing Z Presses in college–they might have saved me from tearing my hamstring.
If you don’t mind me stating the obvious, the Z Press is a vertical pressing movement–so it trains for shoulder, tricep and upper-back strength. Using a dumbbell also aids in an element of stability–something that everyone needs.
Incorporate the Z Press this week during your upper-body assistance training. The Z Press requires stability and, since it will be new to you, a fair amount of neural drive–so use it as a first leve assistance movement.