Is Functional Training Right for Me?
If you are anything like me you might not know what Functional Training means. The first time I learned what functional training meant was after a pretty serious spinal cord injury. I started working with a physical therapist who was really big into functional training. She told me this training would be assisting me with a variety of different day-to-day activities through increasing my range of motion, strength, and ability through a variety of different tasks. Things such as lifting, bending and back strength benefit enormously from functional training. Before my new back injury, I was a serious gymnast. I felt like most of the moves were very basic but was quickly told that whilst most people with a keen interest in fitness are usually quite flexible and fit, even the healthiest person can discover problems or have difficulty participating in these types of activities, especially later in life.
Functional training is a great way of warding against injury now and into the future, as well as providing a host of benefits to your fitness level. Functional training can lead to better muscular balance and joint stability, in turn decreasing your risk of injury. Focusing on the body’s natural ability to move in multi-directional and multi-planar ranges of motion, functional training uses your own body motion to train with, improve on and extend. Functional training also shows a substantial gain in strength and balance in those who use it on a regular basis and has also proven as a type of exercise which improves joint motion, making it ideal for people in various states of recovery from injury, age or fitness level. I honestly can’t think of one person that wouldn’t benefit from functional training.
I admit, since my accident and recovery, fitness has not been at the top of my “things to do” list and boy has age crept up on me. Things that used to come easily to me now seem more difficult and certainly more painful to do. Knee joints ache and my back will never be the same. While thinking about getting back into shape I know that I need to focus on Functional Training to get started. Lucky for me I happen to work at Club Fitness and it just so happens that we have the absolute BEST trainers on our staff as well!
One of the best ways to get the most out of functional training is a personal trainer. As professionals who understand both your level of fitness and what areas for improvement you may have, working with a trainer can really help you understand where your focus should lie and when it is time to transition to different exercises and what is right for you. For me personally, this made all the difference. For those who like variety, there are plenty of types of exercises you can take part in. The goal is to offer resistance. The use of dumbbells, kettle bells and even cable machines are all highly effective.
The benefits are ENDLESS.
Movement Matters: Our bodies are designed to move, not to sit slumped over a computer all day. The less you move, the less blood sugar your body uses. Functional training focuses on training movement patterns rather than isolating individual muscles.
Posture: Functional training can help to correct bad posture and muscular imbalances caused by the daily grind, stressful jobs, and hectic lifestyles.
Fat Burning: Functional training provides fantastic fat burning workouts, by using full body exercises that improve strength, endurance and boost metabolism.
Muscle Tone/Density: It develops strong, lean bodies.
Stability: Every session includes flexibility, mobility, core stability, balance and strength training principles to keep your body constantly challenged.
Sports Specific: Functional training provides essential training for sport specific conditioning. I admit, even my gymnastics conditioning included a lot of Functional Training, I just didn’t realize it at that time.
Core Strength: in functional training every exercise involves core activation, teaching the core to stabilize the spine against external forces, throughout an array of differing movement patterns and body positions. Therefore mimicking the demand placed upon the core and spine in our everyday tasks and recreational activities.