Functional Edge

Functional training

Most people turn to diets and exercise programs to make their body look good, people are always looking for the magic exercises, pill or diet to achieve the perfect body..

Functional training originated through rehabilitation when physical therapists developed exercised that mimicked movements that patience did while they were at work or at home, so that they could return to their regular lives.

Functional training involves mainly weight bearing exercises that target core muscles, lower back.  Most gyms have machines that target and isolate specific muscles groups compared to an actual movement when people are doing physical activities or sports.  Functional training movements help adapt or develop exercises which allow people to perform the activities of daily life more easily and with ought injury.

Functional training should be thought of in terms of a continuous movement such as walking, jogging, running, sprinting, jumping, lifting, pushing,, pulling, bending, twisting, turning, standing, starting, stopping, climbing and lunging. All of these activities require smooth, rhythmic motions in the three cardinal planes of movement-sagital, frontal and transverse.

Benefits of Functional training

Functional training will defiantly help you develop better muscular balance and joint stability; by practicing these types of exercise you will not only reduce the amount of injuries while working out but reduce injury while being active in playing sports.  Doing strengthen training does not allow your body to move in an anatomical planes of motion. When you are using machine it restricts your movement to a single plane of motion which is unnatural form of movement for the body and may potentially lead to injury.

A functional exercise will utilize reflex responses to keep balance, force the body to maintain a center of gravity and or have a high carryover into work or sport. These movements have been shown to improve strength, power, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, agility and speed.

Functional training is the alternative to working out with machines. The best way to think about functional exercises is to picture the primal man or woman (we’re talking caveman type) Functional movement patterns simulate many of the same movements or primal ancestors” would have had to perform in order to survive in an unpredictable environment, whether tracking a wild animal (or being chased by one).Lifting objects such as logs rocks, swinging,m throwing and pulling. All these functional movements can be spilt into 7 basic types

Basic types of Functional movements

-Squatting: Involves bending at the knees and the hips, while keeping the back straight, and lifting a weight from the ground or pushing a weight that is placed on the back or chest. Imagine your primal ancestors squatting down and lifting a heavy rock to dig for grubs, or using the legs and hips to lift a heavy log up onto a primal structure. Exercise examples: Barbell or Dumbbell Squat, Squat to Press.

-Bending: Involves flexing and extending at the waist, preferably in a standing position. Often, this type of movement would have been combined with a squatting, lifting, or rotating motion, such as hoisting a heavy rock out of a field. Exercise examples: Medicine Ball Overhead or Side Throw, Deadlifts.

-Lunging: Involves stepping forward with just one leg, and bending that leg down. This motion would have been used for either traversing terrain (i.e., carrying hunted game over a log), or stepping into a throw (such as hoisting a spear). Exercise examples: Walking Lunge, Barbell or Dumbbell Weighted Lunge, Medicine Ball Lunge with Twist.

-Pushing: Involves using the arms, chest, and shoulders to force a weight out and away or up from the body, an action that might have been used, for example, when herding animals, pushing a plow, or hoisting a weight overhead. Exercise examples: Standing Cable Chest Press, Push-up, and Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press.

-Pulling: Involves using the arms, chest, and shoulders, as well as the legs, to drag or pull a weight towards the body. This type of motion would have been used to pull heavy game animals, row a watercraft, pull a bow, or quickly pull onto a tree branch for safety. Exercise examples: Standing High, Mid, and Low Cable Rows, Pull-ups.

-Twisting: Involves turning and rotating with the torso to apply a force, and would have usually been combined with most of the other primal movement patterns for actions such as pulling, pushing, or lunging. For instance, a twist combine with a lunge and push would comprise a throwing motion, such as hoisting an object like a spear or heavy rock. Exercise examples: Medicine Ball Throws, Cable Torso Twists, Medicine Ball Woodchoppers.

-Gait: Involves moving over terrain, whether walking, jogging, or sprinting. This action would often have been interspersed with other movement patterns, such as walking to track a wild animal, sprinting to hunt it down, then twisting, lunging, and pushing to throw or thrust a weapon. Exercise examples: Sprint to Medicine Ball Throw, Dumbbell Lift and Press to Power Skip.

As you can see, there are countless ways that these movement patterns could be combined to design a workout routine, but there are only a few *optimum* choices. A personal trainer is equipped with the knowledge to put these movement patterns together into a routine that allows for the ideal balance between muscle groups, efficient caloric burning, fat utilization, and metabolic boosting, and injury avoidance. Imagine how much fitter you could be by incorporating all these patterns into your routine. So if you can’t make it to the gym or just tired of doing the same routine functional training is a great alternative…

Leroy Bascombe

Fitness Professional, Fitness Model, Personal trainer, Boot Camp instructor