When we think of fitness, the first thing that comes to a lot of people’s minds is either doing bicep curls in the gym or running on a treadmill. While these exercises have their place, they tend to not be transferable to everyday living, or in other words, they aren’t functional.
Functional exercising is a branch of exercises that are applicable to real-world scenarios. They help us in our everyday lives as they help strengthen muscles that we commonly use in our day-to-day experience.
For example, let’s compare an exercise like a clean and jerk vs a bicep curl. A clean and jerk takes a weight from the ground up above someone’s head. It engages a whole system of muscle movements and strengthens multiple parts of the body at the same time. It is very similar to movements that would be performed lifting a box from the ground and putting it up on a shelf and things similar.
Where as, a bicep curl uses only one muscle, the biceps, to lift up a weight. While strengthening a bicep does has its place, it’s not necessarily a movement we can directly enhance our everyday movements.
If you are looking for a whole body workout with movements that are commonly used in our day to day living then perhaps Functional Training is your answer!
Here are some of the benefits of introducing functional training into your fitness regime:
Increased Strength in Everyday Life
As mentioned prior, one of the biggest benefits of functional training is that is helps us build endurance and strength to perform tasks that we have to with more ease and confidence. Functional training focuses on strengthening muscles that help with body stability, and muscle strength.
Helps Improve Muscle Memory
Part of the reason that everyday life starts to feel somewhat ‘easier’, is because you are conditioning your body to certain movements constantly. This means that things as simple as bending over and picking something up suddenly feels a lot less strenuous.
Low Impact/Reduces Injury
Certain functional training exercises are very low impact, especially if you choose to focus on bodyweight exercises. This means makes it a great starting point for anyone who is new to fitness or has weaker bones, as it helps strengthen your body without breaking or causing stress to your joints.
It can also be used in combination with other kinds of training to reduce the risk of injury. For example, if you are into jiu-jitsu, then incorporating functional training into your regime can increase your core strength during rolls.
Helps With Flexibility and Coordination
Building up the body’s functional strength will lead to overall flexibility and coordination. Often with typical gym exercises, the range of movement employed is very minimal. However, because a typical functional exercise includes starting and stopping in a position where your muscles are stretched in a wide range of motion, it will increase flexibility.
The great thing about functional exercises is that you can start introducing them right now. Whether you’re an elite athlete who needs something a little extra or whether you haven’t worked out a day in your life. It is a workout everyone can benefit from.