So you have been having a few good sessions at the gym. You feel like you are getting stronger. I mean yesterday you shoulder pressed 40 kgs for goodness sake… but then you go to lift your 20 kg child out of the high chair and you put your back out. So you can bench press 20 kgs but can you lift your own bodyweight? So you can squat 40 kgs but can you jump over a puddle of water? So you can walk on the treadmill for an hour but can you run up a flight of stairs?
These are all questions I ask not to undermine your level of fitness but to try an open a new perspective towards health, fitness and traditional sense of working out.
What is Functional Training?
Functional training is a type of exercise which prepares the body for various forms of activity common in our daily lives.
It was a style of training first adopted by physiotherapists to help balance out the body’s movements and allow the body to function more efficiently to prevent, reduce and rehabilitate injury.
The exercises within functional training aim to get the muscles working together through both fast and slow, controlled multi-joint movements. Its aim is not only to strengthen and build muscle but to increase range of motion.
In short objective of functional training is to be able to do awesome stuff with your body so that you can live your life to the fullest and continue to maintain your active lifestyle right up in to your later years.
The Benefits of Functional Training
- Because our bodies were made to move! Our bodies are amazing machines, there were designed to run from predators, build shelters, hunt for food…..they weren’t designed to sit in front of the tele or computer desk all day. Functional training allows us to develop the strength, motion and coordination so that we can make the most out of these amazing machines we have been given.
- Functional training focuses on training movement patterns rather than isolating individual muscles to ensure no muscle group gets left behind. One of the most common causes of injury is imbalances created between opposing muscle groups. The multi-joint movements adopted by that of Functional training helps prevent this from happening.
- One of the main focuses of Functional training is to strengthen and connect the core and back to other working muscles; assisting to correct bad posture and muscle imbalances caused by the daily grind, stressful jobs and hectic lifestyles.
- Functional training provides fantastic fat burning workouts, The full body nature of functional training means that it is a fantastic fat-burner. Adopting exercises that improve strength, endurance and boost metabolism to provide you with a more efficient way to train.
- It develops strong lean bodies, have a look at these particular athletes; dancers, gymnasts, pole-vaulters. They are constantly training movement patterns and lifting their own bodyweight but I don’t know how often you would see them doing a bicep curl.
- Functional training will aid your overall performance in any sport; enhancing speed, power, range of motion and coordination.
- In Functional training every exercise involves core activation, teaching the core to stabilise and work with the spine throughout an array of different movement patterns and body positions. Therefore mimicking the demand placed upon the core and spine in our every day tasks and recreational activities. Way more effective than your traditional crunches.
So what do you think? Is functional fitness for you? I am writing this article out of pure interest. I am finding myself falling in love with the concept of functional fitness and wanted to share a few of the main reasons why I am starting to adopt it principles in my own routine.
Keep posted. Later on in the week I will share a great Functional Workout that you can try at home.
In the meantime get cracking with my workouts on Instagram and checkout my Facebook for additional fitness and health tips.