FUNCTIONAL TRAINING: WHAT IS IT & WHY SHOULD I DO IT?
Functional training therefore 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 as a result. 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 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.
Functional training is a type of exercise which prepares the body for various forms of activity common in our daily lives.
The exercises within functional training have a high focus on the strengthening of abdominal muscles and back muscles. Through strengthening these muscles overall, your strength and balance will create more efficient movement patterns which lead to better core strength and less injuries. But strength is not the only benefit. Coordination improves through training or retraining the muscles to work together and the joints are also stabilized and the range of motion is increased.
However, despite the benefits, some common misconceptions deter people from taking up functional training. Two of the most common of these misconceptions are functional training leads to a bulking up and a loss of flexibility. Functional training does indeed work the muscles, but intrusive or unflattering bulk of your physique will not be a by-product of this process. Nor does this working of the muscles in either men or women lead to a loss of flexibility and in fact, studies show functional training actually improves flexibility overall.
For those who like variety, there are plenty of types of exercises you can take part in for functional training. The goal is to offer resistance. The use of dumbbells, kettle bells, ViPR’s and even cable machines are all highly effective. The highly portable and travel friendly resistance tube is also a great friend to functional training. Due to the choice available, it is a good idea to do plenty of research before you start. That way you can find the right exercises to match and compliment your current fitness regimes and sporting activities.
The goal for functional training should be to slowly but steadily progress during your workouts. Pay attention to the signals you get from your body so you can continue to move forward at a good pace. Be mindful to change your functional training routine on a regular basis so as to remain well rounded in your approach and result.
One of the best ways to get the most out of functional training is with a coach or a personal trainer. As professionals who understand both your level of fitness and what areas for improvement you may have, working with a coach or 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.
Now is the time to make functional training part of your lifestyle. From competitive edge through to long lasting health and fitness benefits received, functional training offers a practical, useful and important type of exercise with a proven track record in improving a person’s quality of life.