You’ve heard of strength training and cardiovascular training. You are probably familiar with sports training. But how much do you know about functional training? For the past few years, functional training has been one of the biggest trends in the fitness industry and with good reason.
What is Functional Training?
Unlike traditional strength and cardiovascular training, functional training focuses on performing exercises that mimic your body’s natural movements. Think reaching to get something off a high shelf, bending down to pick something up or turning to get out of bed. These are all common, everyday movements that functional training will help your body do safely and correctly.
The idea of functional training came from physical and occupational therapies where therapists used specific exercises to rehabilitate their patients so they were able to perform movements that are required in everyday life. Exercises can be weight bearing or just movement specific without using any weights or machines.
For those embarking on a functional training program, the benefits are endless, including:
- Decreased risk of injury
- Builds stronger core muscles
- Ability to move the body more naturally and easily
- Improved balance, coordination, and stability
- Not strenuous on joints
- Improve quality of life
- Reduces the risk of falls
Functional training is particularly beneficial for senior citizens who are at a greater risk of falling or hurting themselves while performing simple tasks. Doing an exercise like a squat, for example, can be incredibly beneficial in helping older people maintain (and improve) their coordination and balance when getting up and down from a chair. Now, these movements aren’t a challenge with a higher risk of injury.
Functional Training Exercises
You may already be doing a slew of functional training exercises without even knowing it. For example, deadlifts are said to be one of the most functional exercises you can do. After all, how often do you bend down to pick something up from the floor? Probably a lot. Deadlifts train your body to do that correctly without hurting your back. The same can be said about squats which teach your body how to bend down correctly—a movement you do almost every day.
Exercises like push ups and pull ups work opposing muscle groups in your upper body that are also important for daily function. And don’t forget about your core muscles which are used in all of these exercises. A strong core is incredibly important for function.
Finally, exercises that have you working in a rotational movement are also very helpful in preventing injuries. Every day you have to rotate your body to get out of a car or roll over in bed. By strengthening your core muscles and training in a rotational manner, your body will be well equipped to tackle these movements with efficiency and strength while reducing your risk of injury.
The Bottom Line
FitOn offers functional training workouts that you can benefit from doing several days a week. The exercises can be done at home with or without weights. The key to effective functional training is to work your body as one rather than in parts and pieces. Start incorporating functional training into your routine. Your body will thank you for it now and, definitely, later.