Updated: May 30, 2020
Why adding this to your workout will bring amazing results to your everyday life!
As the word “functional” already clarifies what functional training is all about!
Functional training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in everyday life. It prepares the body for movements it will use during the day.
Let’s say you drop something and with your luck it rolls under the couch! Your body has to bend down, twist in certain parts, for you to be capable of reaching what fell under the couch!
So, this brings us to our next question.
Should you be adding this to your workouts? The answer is a definite YES!
Functional training has a purpose and it goes far beyond just your normal, everyday workout.
As Eric Salvador, a certified personal trainer, would say: "Functional training is just training that has a purpose."
It focuses on movements that has purpose. The purpose will be related to getting better at every day activities like walking, get in and out of a chair, bending or squatting to pick up something. It can also be used to prepare your body for a specific sport.
What would a functional workout look like?
It would typically consist of movements that will allow your body to bend, twist, push, pull and rotate. Also strengthening the muscles needed to do everyday activities! It would consist of movements that will help you do everyday things without hurting yourself.
Let’s look at this example. We have all been there where you have to lift something heavy. Or just move something heavy from one space to another.
Have you ever tried picking up something heavy using only your back and arm muscles?
Meaning you keep your legs straight and only bend in your hips to pick up the heavy object!! The next morning you wake up with extreme back pain and can’t think of doing anything strange!
Put this to the test. Next time you try to pick up something heavy. Try using your leg muscles by squatting down as in a squat position then picking up the heavy object by only straightening your legs again- moving out of your squat position. There is absolutely no strain on your back!!
Your legs consist of much bigger muscles groups than your upper body and should be used more often to do everyday activities. Now I am not saying don’t use those big biceps. They will come in handy quite often!
The purpose of functional training is to strengthen the muscles to perform basic movements like a squat.
A functional workout consist of compound movements. If you haven’t read our previous blog post. Make sure you do to understand this concept better.
Compound exercises require more than one muscle group to work together. Therefore a typical functional workout would consist of movements like squats, dead lift, lunges and push-up. These movements mimic everyday movement patterns, as I have stated before, you squat down to pick up something heavy. Or mimic a push-up when you push a door open!
Dan Henderson, co-founder of the functional training Institute, says: “A majority of functional training movements are multi-joint and a functional training program should incorporate movements in multiple planes.”
This simply means you incorporate movements that requires your body to move in different directions. Forward and backwards, side to side and rotational movements which requires your torso to bend or twist!
Functional training also helps your body to move in unity. To work efficiently as one unit. You are helping your body function as a whole.
Functional training will also help improve your coordination and balance. The more you train functionally, the better your body will work as a system.
Functional training helps you become aware of your body.
Incorporating functional training into your workouts, whether you do body weight only or using free standing weights, can be super beneficial for your body as it moves to do everyday activities and keep you injury free!