There is an exercise modality that has gained popularity called “functional training.” One would think that fitness automatically would incorporate making the body function better. But that is not necessarily the case. Functional fitness can incorporate many different meanings.
What is Functional Training?
First we need to know what entails functional training. Basically it is training the body’s muscles to work together in a way that will allow people to perform everyday “functions” that will help to prevent injury either at home or at work. It can also incorporate movements that would incorporate a movement one would do while engaged in a specific sport.
An example of doing exercise that is functional is a deadlift. There are times when there are heavy things throughout the day that we must pick up. When the deadlift is trained one will learn how to lift heavy items in a safe manner, as well as strengthen the areas of the body that are used in motions. Another example of a functional exercise is a squat. Chances are you will sit down and get up on several occasions throughout the day. The squat will train the muscles in the legs to help you do that.
Functional training also helps those involved with sports. The manner of this functional fitness incorporates movements found in one’s chosen sport and trained. For example using a medicine ball to do rotational lunges can help one if golf is a chosen sport.
Best way to incorporate functional fitness.
Functional exercises incorporate multi-joint, compound exercises. As noted above 2 examples are the squat and deadlift. Others include overhead presses, floor presses, rows, cleans, and swings. There more of course. These examples are excellent strength building exercises that will have much carryover into our daily lives. These should be performed first before fatigue really sets in.
Functional training also helps us to strengthen our core and improve our balance. These are also multi-joint, compound exercises. However, many are performed one side at a time. Examples of these can be multidirectional lunges, medicine ball twists, or exercises performed on a wobble board. These should be completed after the main strength building exercises are finished.
Other types of functional exercises can be linked to Pilates, yoga, and qi gung. Many of these use stretching to help with our flexibility. These should be performed on a separate day than your strength training day, or following it.
When to use Functional Training.
There is no need to overthink functional training and to make it complex. It can be performed either at home with home training devices such as dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, or even bodyweight exercises such as those used in calisthenics. It can also be done at the gym with the same equipment.