The Awesome Benefits of Functional Training
Functional fitness or functional exercise is training your body in a way that makes your body more adaptable to real life situations. Everyday movements such as twists, squats, reaches and carries all need to be strengthened so that you can help reduce your risk of injury.
Many experts believe that many people are more prone to breaks or sprains simply because they are so used to training in a specific way with no variety.
There are not many times in your life where you have to only use your bicep to curl a weight up to your shoulder, but there are many times where you have to bend over, lift a weight up to your shoulders and then place it down onto an elevated surface. What I’ve just described is lifting heavy shopping bags off of the floor and onto your kitchen counter. I’ve also described the atlas stone lift. At Body3, we have noticed that many beginners have a tendency to round the back which can cause serious problems for the lower lumbar region of the spine when performing these movements. Common advice is to “lift with your knees” when picking anything up off of the ground which is very true but you should also brace your core while engaging your shoulders and glutes to complete the lift safely and efficiently.
Functional exercise focuses less on training your ‘vanity muscles’ and instead training you for experiences and movements. That means incorporating many muscle groups into a single exercise.
Some of the best functional exercises are:
- Overhead Dumbbell Squats
- Jump Squats
- Vertical Jumps
- Single-Arm Deadlifts
- Kettlebell Deadlifts
- Barbell Deadlifts
- Squats (Front, Back, Goblet)
- Dumbbell or Medicine Ball Chops
- Hang Cleans
- Military Press
- Farmers Walks or Carries
Let’s take another everyday activity such as squatting. You may not think that you train this movement every day but each time you stand up or sit down you’re doing a partial range of the
squat. This can seem easy, and because you do it every day you may not think that you need to train it on a regular basis but there is actually a lot of core strength, glutes, and leg strength involved. Knowing which muscles to fire at what point of the movement puts you in a much safer position.
As people grow older they often complain of various aches and pains, the main one being the back. This is due to performing various movements incorrectly and staying in positions too long
without the proper muscles engaged. This can put strain on the regions of the body which are not as strong or are not fully adapted to the movement.
There is also the danger of falling over and being unable to get up. Functional exercise helps this in two ways; firstly it trains the body to have better balance on it’s feet and under load and secondly it also trains the body the correct way to get up while strengthening the muscles involved.
Functional training is a great activity that anyone can utilize to help them in many aspects of their lives. To learn more about how we help our clients become more fit and healthy please sign up for a free fitness consultation.