What Is Functional Training and the Benefits of Training Functionally

July 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Strength Training

Article by TC Personal Training

What Is Functional Training and the Benefits of Training Functionally – Health – Fitness

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What is Functional Training?

The origins of functional training lie in rehabilitation and sports conditioning.

In contrast to traditional strength training that uses resistance machines to train an isolated group of muscles with a single specific motion, functional training trains the body as a cohesive unit allowing unrestricted movement and using two or more muscles at the same time

p>It builds strength, balance and coordination for general fitness and to help with day to day activities, as well as specific sports requirements.

Functional training is based upon exercises which use the person’s own weight as resistance or uses bands, stability balls, free weights and other equipment which will challenge a person’s core strength and balance and involve multiple muscle groups and corresponding stabilisers.

Benefits of Functional Training.

By working muscle groups simultaneously functional training can help to achieve health and fitness goals faster than single joint exercises.

It can significantly improve balance, core muscles strength and joint stability.

By helping link your entire body together so it performs optimally as a cohesive unit, it can lessen risk of injury especially in sport.

A research study into the relative benefits of functional training versus fixed resistance machine training showed those undertaking functional training had a 58% greater increase in strength than those using fixed resistance machines and improvements in balance were 196% better (2009 Spennewyn)

By doing exercises that mimic a natural movement it can help build strength for everyday activities and repeated movements such as reaching up and bringing down heavy objects.

For athletes it can build strength to improve performance of a specific movement such as a golf swing, throwing a ball or jumping.

Cardio activity can be easily integrated into functional training.

Strength can be gained without putting on bulk or losing flexibility.

Neither multiple machines or space is needed to train multiple muscle groups.

Functional training might include such exercises as:

âEUR¢lunges

âEUR¢planks

âEUR¢press ups

âEUR¢circuit training

âEUR¢mixed martial arts (MMA)

âEUR¢working out with cables or kettle bells or on gym balls

âEUR¢dynamic or stationary movements that are specific to a particular sport.

Here is an example of a functional and not so functional exercise.

Lets look at 2 pulling movements, say a lat pulldown on the lat machine and a tug of war type movement, pulling a cable with resistance.

Now the lat pulldown will use muscles from the arms and torso to pull the bar down towards the chest, however the legs are anchored to prevent you from lifting out of the seat. The load is being lifted by the entire arms and torso in unison.

Seems like a pretty functional movement, however because the legs are braced, standing postural integrity is not compromised, in other words the stabilising muscles of the lower body are not activated.

Now lets look at a much more functional exercise, the tug of war type movement, a standing cable row.

With the cable pulley wheel about chest height and away from you grab the D handle with one hand and pull it down while slightly rotating, like a rowing motion towards your side.

Now because the legs are not braced your going to need to summon a considerable amount of lower body muscle to stabilise your position and keep you from taking off.

This sort of movement could be used in football to drag another player over the side line or a UFC fighter pulling his opponent to the ground, all functional.

The problem is your only as strong as your weakest link and in the latter’s case the lower body is the weak link. However the pulldown eliminates this, which basically means you can lift a much heavier load. This is why bodybuilders are big and the functional training brigade are…well…. not!

Its the same with doing a bench press. Because the back is braced against the bench you can push a hell a of a lot of weight away from your body in this position.Pushing something (standing cable press)or someone away from you, again something a footballer or fighter would experience in competition, because there is nothing to brace the back here less power can be produced in the pushing movement plane, simply because you can not get the necessary leverage, so its the weak links that needs to be strengthened not the prime mover. Something only the later exercise can do.

GET FITTER, FASTER, STRONGER

http://www.tcpersonaltraining.co.uk

About the Author

www.tcpersonaltraining.co.uk

Personal Training, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instuctor, Manchester, Cheshire, Cheadle Hulme, Wilmslow, Bramhall, Didsbury, Altrincham, Hale, Stockport, Fitness, Exercise, Fat, Loss, Weight Loss, Workout, Kettlebell, Functional, Tabata, HIIT, Plyometric, Metabolic Training.

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TC Personal Training



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www.tcpersonaltraining.co.uk

Personal Training, Personal Trainer, Fitness Instuctor, Manchester, Cheshire, Cheadle Hulme, Wilmslow, Bramhall, Didsbury, Altrincham, Hale, Stockport, Fitness, Exercise, Fat, Loss, Weight Loss, Workout, Kettlebell, Functional, Tabata, HIIT, Plyometric, Metabolic Training.












Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.

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