What is Functional Fitness Training About and How can It Improve Your Livelihood?
The fitness industry is like fashion. There is always an old something that makes a come back or recycled as something new. Because of this, you can never get bored. Regardless of your fitness level or your goals, there is something for everyone even if you workout at home or the park. You do not need to join a gym to get your recommended dose of aerobic and resistance training. The latest fitness craze to get you moving and grooving is Functional Training.
What Is Functional Training?
Squatting down to pick up your child or getting on all fours to scrub the floor are examples of functional movement. In other words you are moving for a purpose and this is what Functional Training teaches you how to perform effectively.
Functional training focuses on movement patterns that are similar to our activities of daily living. These are activities that we engage on a day to day basis. For instance walking, jogging, sprinting, running, jumping, pushing, lifting, pulling, bending, turning, twisting, starting, stopping, standing, lunging and climbing. A common aspect of these activities is that they involve smooth, rhythmic motions that helps you get the job done without hurting yourself.
Functional training is a form of resistance exercise that focuses on improving the overall strength to directly enhance normal body movements. It goes beyond building the capacity of specific muscles and muscle groups to focus on building coordination between the muscular and the nervous systems. Simply put, the core goal of functional exercises is to condition your body to perform your daily activities more efficiently and effectively. It helps you achieve this by transferring the gains in muscle strength to enhance the performance of your daily movements through the neuromuscular system. As such, functional training exercises your muscles in a similar way your body uses them in everyday life. These exercises focus more on practical full body workouts than weightlifting to target specific muscle groups. The end result is an overall strength and endurance enabling you to optimally function throughout the day.
Functional Training Origin
Though this form of physical activity has gained popularity more recently, it has been in use for decades. Physical therapists have been using them since World War 1 to rehabilitate patients with movement disorders. Functional training is now increasingly penetrating the fitness arena because it involves various exercises that target the core body muscles, enabling people to perform their daily activities more effectively.
Most of the modern fitness ideologies are also currently focusing on function. This has also resulted in the development of new training equipment such as battling ropes, slosh pipes, sandbags, suspension trainers and kettlebells.
How Does It Differ from Others Forms of Exercise?
The conventional fitness disciplines such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, and others lay emphasis on exercise techniques that serve specific objectives such as achieving muscular or a defined physique. These use machine-based exercises that target specific muscles and joints in a controlled environment to stimulate optimal muscle growth.
What sets functional training apart from the rest is the way it targets your body. The exercises lend themselves to the mindset of mastering a skill or completing a task rather than just doing a specific number of reps and sets. It is both an art and a science that involves the transfer of strength gained to the normal body movements.
Success in this area requires coordination between the training movement and the actual performance movement. This is because the brain section that is responsible for muscular movement, thinks in terms of whole motions, and not the movement of specific muscles. Thus, by making the training motions similar to your daily movements, the brain is able to transfer this energy to your daily routine with much ease.
The traditional exercises do not effectively transfer performance from the gym to the real world. However, this does not mean that you should avoid them completely. The non-functional exercises can also add value to the functional ones. For instance, they can be used to strengthen a “weak link” which could be a joint or a muscle that is getting in the way of proper function. By restoring the right muscle balance, the individual can effectively and safely do functional activities.
Benefits of Functional Exercise
Increases The Ease of Everyday Life
For normal people, the benefits of functional fitness usually out-weigh those of conventional training. Functional exercises have numerous benefits because they can be applied to our daily lives. They are designed to assist you to carry out your routine body movements with much ease. For instance, lunges which are a functional exercise come in handy when climbing a steep hillside.
You will also notice that climbing up the stairs will get easier with time, or even moving things around the house. Functional training simply increases the ease of your everyday life by developing muscle and body stability, boosting muscle strength and endurance, and improving the overall function of your body.
Functional training is also efficient in terms of time taken to reach your fitness goals, whether weight loss or even strength gain. This is because the exercises focus on completing full-body movements and also targets multiple muscle groups resulting in a boost in calorie expenditure. Given that it incorporates a wide range of movements and activities such as dancing, your fitness journey can also turn out to be fun.
Improved Posture, Balance and Eliminates Joint Pains
Functional training works on the full body by targeting multiple muscles and joints. Because functional exercises are generally not stabilized, it forces small muscle groups to grow so that they can support the larger ones in terms of balance and posture. This results in equilibrium throughout the body in terms of energy, posture, strength, and balance. The exercises also eliminate the imbalance in the body and cushions the joints; effectively eliminating the sources of chronic pain.
Functional exercises are suitable for beginners and pro athletes alike since they involve full body movements that target multiple muscles simultaneously. It is a great starting point for anyone at any fitness level since it implements low impact exercises. Athletes too can benefit from these exercises by increasing the intensity to train for strength, speed, power, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, muscle endurance, or even fat loss. The benefits of functional exercise are far reaching and wide because they are designed to assist you to carry out your routine body movements with much ease.