I’m sure you have all heard the term functional training thrown around, a lot of you will know what it means, a few will kinda know and a few just won’t know.
So in today’s article I’m going to talk firstly about what functional training is and then talk about how you can benefit massively by training this way.
There are so many different ways to train in today’s exercise world.
I believe that functional training is one of the best ways to train, why?
Because you can use it all the time in life.
A squat would be a type of functional training, when would you use that? To stand up from a chair.
A deadlift would be another one, you could use this when you pick up an object from the floor.
How about standing on a stability ball with a barbell on your back trying to do a squat? No that is not functional, when are you ever going to need to do that in real life besides when you have your partner on your back during an earthquake…
Functional training is nothing new, we have been moving this way for many years, functional training is just a label used to describe it as exercise.
It can be described as, a movement or exercise that allows us to perform our tasks with better performance or efficiency.
Functional training consists of loads of multi joint compound resistance exercises, so these are big exercises recruiting many different muscles to carry it out as opposed to an isolation exercise such as a bicep curl which only really uses one muscle.
Functional training can use bodyweight, dumbbells, barbells and various other bits of equipment to do.
It is done using the body in the way it was designed to move.
What makes an exercise functional?
Functional training has been used with physiotherapists during a clients rehabilitation from injury by doing movements aimed at mimicking the movements the patient needs to perform at home or at work in order to correct the problem and rehabilitate them from the injury as quickly as possible.
Compare these two workouts and tell me which one is most functional:
Workout 1 Workout 2
Dumbbell lunges Leg extension machine
Press ups Leg curl machine
Dumbbell bent over row on stability ball Lat pulldown machine
Ab crunch Chest press machine
You would have to say that workout 1 is more functional than the second workout. In workout one you are using stability balls, dumbbells and bodyweight. Workout 2 just uses machines with the joints and muscles fixed in one place. The first workout will use your core muscles more like you do with daily tasks to help stabilise the body and keep balance.
- Work in all 3 planes of motion rather than just forward and backwards
- Need to be integrated to work many different muscles
- Need to be done when standing up rather than sitting
Benefits of functional training, increased:
- Muscular endurance
- Aerobic fitness
This type of training is perfect if you want to build muscle and get lean, it’s great for fat loss as you are using so many different muscles and it is awesome for sports specific training.
Other benefits include:
- Good for promoting good posture
- Help with injury prevention and rehabilitation
- Achieves a metabolic training effect helps with building body shape
- Increased muscular balance and joint stability
- Increased co-ordination
- Works aerobic and anaerobic systems
- Can be performed by people of all ages and levels
Functional training is never going to go away and there is an increased movement away from fixed gym machines to more functional open spaced environments. I have recently started working at a fantastic new facility (pictured) in Ammanford called Primal Gym which specialises in functional training and it has been absolutely brilliant so far. If you want to know more about it get in touch.
So if you are sick of struggling to perform daily tasks like bending over, getting things from shelves, carrying shopping bags and walking up stairs maybe this is the right type of training for you.
If you don’t know where to start then just drop me an email.
There is nothing daunting about it, it’s not just for the fit or just for the men it is a way of training which we should all be doing as it can straight away have a positive effect on our lives.
Any questions, please leave a comment.
Keep up the good work,