Have you tried one of our functional training classes yet? Not sure what it is? Or maybe it just looks too intense or scary?
Functional training is one of the most efficient ways to train the entire body. While it may look intense and intimidating at first, after reading this article, you’ll be signing up for our next class.
What is Functional Training?
Leading fitness guru, Michael Boyle, defines “function” in his book, New Functional Training for Sports, as “purpose”. In short, train with purpose.
Functional training began in the rehabilitation and physical therapy worlds. Its purpose was to help retrain patients with movement disorders. Exercises mimic movements done at home or work, like opening the refrigerator or closing a door.
Functional training is now often used to train athletes. For example, a swimmer may focus on doing shoulder and arm exercises that mimic their swim stroke. Or a runner would do exercises that focus on building more leg and hip strength.
Why is Functional Training Important?
Functional training focuses on mobility and stability, which leads to more efficient motor patterns. Functional training not only improves the overall function of the body, but also boosts muscle strength and endurance. And it builds muscle stability to complete everyday life tasks easier.
Functional training is generally done with body or light weights, and exercise equipment. Exercises focus on increasing flexibility, coordination, balance, and posture. Most functional exercises require core strength to stabilise yourself. This then forces the body to recruit the smaller muscles you would otherwise not use.
Functional training can also help reduce the risk of injury. Runners especially are prone to overuse injuries from doing the same movement over and over again. By mimicking everyday movements, your body is more likely to cope with stress from sport.
Functional training can also strengthen the muscles you don’t normally use. For example, the many smaller muscles that stabilise the hips during running are often weak in regular runners.
What Are Examples of Functional Exercises?
Functional exercises, or functional movements as they are commonly called, are movements based on real-world bio-mechanics. The squat, for instance, is one of the best functional movements you can do. Think about it: how many times a day do you get up and down from a chair?
If you’re not sure what types of exercises you’ll see in our functional training classes, take a peek at our video in the sidebar to the right.
To change up your routine, build more strength and stability in your body, while improving your flexibility and posture, try one of our classes today!