Fitness Trends 101: What is functional training?
Using Functional Training
One of the biggest trends in fitness right now is functional training. It’s a fancy sounding buzzword, but what exactly does it mean? It simply refers to exercises that make your daily life easier. It’s about focusing things on the gym that can give you more strength and endurance to get through your busy life. In addition, it has been proven to work with athletes and sports injury rehabilitation stages. Let’s face it. How often in life do you really need to be able to bench press five hundred pounds. This short guide will give you the basic information on functional training so that you can start seeing the benefits of working out in your everyday life.
Movements not Muscles
Over the last few decades, most fitness regimens have focused on increasing muscle mass. This type of specialization may help you in the gym, but it doesn’t translate over to the rest of your life. The main problem with that is that our everyday lives don’t require the use of just one set of muscles like your biceps, triceps or quads but a set of them to do tasks like pushing or pulling, lifting, climbing an so on.
The other problem is that these workouts tend to only focus on one plane of motion. For example, you curl weights forward and backward. In the real world, you have to be able to move around in all dimensions— forward, back, left, right, up and down.
Focusing on Key Areas
Functional training targets three key areas that are essential to your everyday fitness. The idea is to give you greater flexibility, agility, and endurance. It actually began as a part of a physical rehabilitation program, but many athletic coaches noticed the overall benefits it would have on their trainees. The three main areas it focuses on are:
The Scapula stabilizer (shoulder blades)
Deep abdominals (I.e. your core— abs, and obliques)
Hip abductors and rotators (everything in the hip region)
The reason for these focus areas is because most of the activity in our daily lives occur as a set of movements that begin with these muscles groups. Essentially if you are training these areas well then the rest will follow.
Sample Exercises and Tools
Functional training utilizes a lot of tools that are likely already in your repertoire or at least in your gym. Dumbbells, balance disks, barbells, exercise balls and a whole more. What’s different is the type of exercises that you do instead. The underlying philosophy is that the workouts are integrated into a framework that has real-world application.
Some of the different exercises include ones you are familiar with like pushups and pull-ups as well as a bear crawl where you crawl with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Another great one is the balanced step-up with light dumbbells. This targets both your balance and your strength.
Start Incorporating Functional Training
Maximize your athletic recovery and find out how functional training is truly the best style to workout. It helps you get toned while improving your balance, coordination, and endurance. What else more could you want?