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Functional Training

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In terms of fitness trends, diets and health movements, the industry is always changing. It’s hard to know what is best for your physical needs, or which exercises will produce the best results. Many people who work out at the gym will do their cardio, and then swap to free weights or weight machines to train and tone their bodies, but it looks like scientific research has found a better way – Functional Training.

This buzz word, “functional training”, talks about an exercise activity that differs from traditional weight training and cardio. Functional training integrates and teaches all the muscles to work together rather than isolating them to work independently. It will essentially focus on conditioning your body to be capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, such as carrying a heavy load or lifting your child out of her car seat – not just lifting weights at a gym machine.

Our bodies are capable of repeating fluid, precision, powerful and accurate movements that enable us to move though our environment and absorb the forces that act on us due to gravity.

What are some examples of Functional Training?

As mentioned before, a functional training exercise is an action that corresponds with an everyday movement or a movement required for a sporting skill. Here are some examples of great functional training movements:

Standing foot jumps

Literally as it says… standing with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, rock forward onto the balls of your feet and proceed to hop in place or from side to side or forwards and backwards while maintaining balance. Excellent for foot and ankle fatigue, stability and agility.

Medicine Ball Slam and reverse slam

This is a simple move in which you take a medicine ball and hold it high above your head, and subsequently slam or bounce it onto the floor. Catch it and repeat. This one is good for the variations of reaching and placing items overhead in cupboards or closets.

Paw Backs

Standing with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent, rock forward onto the balls of your feet. Raise one foot off the ground by bending the knee and raising it so that the ankle of that leg transects the knee of the support leg in a cycling or running motion. Place the foot on the ground underneath your body and pull the ball of the foot towards the rear to repeat the movement.

Bulgarian split squat (advanced)

Step with one of your legs about 3 feet in front of the other. Lower your body into a long lunge. Rapidly push yourself up until both of your legs are in the air. Quickly switch legs so that when you land the opposite leg is in front of the leg you started with. Repeat. You then reverse the movement to return to the start.

How will Functional Training Benefit me?

Conditioning your body in this manner will benefit you in everyday life by training your muscles to work in harmony; the way that they were meant to. Your brain learns new motor patterns (engrams) that can be executed, to enable fluid and precision movement to occur, and prevent imbalances that can lead to repetitive strain injury. It will also assist with balance, metabolism, and condition you to resist fatigue from everyday function.

Remember that our bodies are designed to move, and not to be sedentary. Since functional training focuses on various movement patterns rather than isolating specific muscle groups, you will find a plethora of positive benefits. It will help you to correct bad posture and muscle imbalances caused by the stressors of daily life.

Since just about every functional training exercise includes flexibility, mobility, core stability, balance, strength and endurance you will see wonderful and quick results that will benefit you in everyday life.

Overall, the benefits of functional training are plentiful, and the positive outcomes that you will see are amazing. In terms of results, it will help keep your body toned and svelte, as well as assist you in every day movements. It appears that functional training is here to stay!

If you have found any of the above helpful and would like more information, feel free to book in for a performance optimisation session or a consultation!