Function Better With Functional Fitness!
One of the latest words that is buzzing around the fitness community is ‘functional fitness’.
But really, doesn’t all exercise have a function?
Yes it does, but this prescription aims to better prepare you for everyday life by using compound movements that require your muscles to move together to create well-rounded athletic abilities that improve all aspects of your health and fitness.
The term is built upon the concept of specificity, that is, when you train a particular skill or movement you get better at it.
But when was the last time that life threw you your own bodyweight to bench press off your chest?
Chances are, if it did, you wouldn’t be too well off!
On the other hand, when was the last time that you had to carry heavy shopping bags, move the couch, play basketball with your kids or run to catch a bus?
Working out should help to keep us fitter, safer and stronger for longer!
Functional fitness focuses on just that, making your life easier and often uses exercises that simulate everyday movements.
By focusing on whole body movements you will burn a lot of calories making it an ideal way to lose weight and tone up.
Functional fitness is as varied as your life and should be tailored to suit you!
Popular programs such as HIIT training, calisthenics and TRX use this approach to train people of all ages and abilities.
Truth be told, we do all exercise to look good but it feels awesome to be able to say “of course I can lift this! I don’t just go to the gym so that I can eat cake!”
Here are some of the benefits that you will find.
Improved Cardiovascular Capacity
Sprint drills and exercises such as plyometric box jumps get your heart pumping and improve your cardiovascular ability.
Functional fitness often incorporates interval style training whereby you work hard for a period of time followed by a short rest.
This style of training is unbeatable for your heart and will make sure that you can actually make it to your desk on the 40th floor if the elevator is out of service.
“I am way too strong for this” – said nobody ever.
Whether you are training functionally with just your own body weight or are using weights to add intensity to your workout, there is no doubt that functional exercises build muscle and strength.
A single deadlift uses the arms, back, glutes, hamstrings and abdominals to develop strength that will allow you to lift heavy objects easily and safely.
Functional fitness exercises that get your heart rate up over an extended period of time help to build your cardiovascular endurance so that you will actually have to pretend that you can’t catch your kids.
They also involve working your muscles until fatigue, building your muscular endurance.
Improved Agility, Speed and Power
Functional fitness will also increase your agility, power and speed.
Sprint ‘suicides’ are an example of this, requiring you to quickly accelerate to an all-out sprint, stop, change directions and do it all again.
The next time Boxing Day sales come around you will have no problem dodging everyone to catch those deals!
Coordination and Improved Balance
Reduce the Chance of Injury
By focusing on exercises that promote a full range of motion, functional fitness helps to develop strength in all of your muscles, ligaments and tendons, preventing imbalances and protecting your body from injuries.
It might even keep you safe during that misguided attempt at reliving your childhood on the trampoline!