Here is a scenario for you:
Imagine a mother of one year old decided to return to the gym after having a baby. She goes to the gym, does the usual bicep curls, triceps curls, leg press, crutches etc., pretty much focuses on big muscles groups.
She went home and was trying to put her baby in the crib. She twisted the wrong way and she threw her back out causing increase back pain.
Is her injury preventable? Maybe?
One reason for injury, maybe weak core
Now she does not understand the reasons she has back pain especially after going to the gym. The issue was when she went to the gym, she focused on big muscle groups. Which is not a bad workout, but in order to get a really good workout, it’s is best to incorporate functional fitness training.
What is Functional Fitness?
Accord to Mayo Clinic, Functional fitness training focus on exercises on the muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.
The main goal of functional training is that each exercise tends to activate more muscle groups, and therefore consume more energy and decrease the risk of injury. Multidimensional exercises tend to improve natural movement and increase general mobility.
For example, bicep curls or triceps curls focus on one dimension. The purpose is to increase muscle mass but there’s no function behind it. How can you incorporate bicep curls or triceps curls into your daily lives?
The key is to incorporate functional activities. When you think about it, we move in a multi-dimensional plane. When focusing on a task, we incorporate more muscles groups without thinking about it.
5 Best Functional fitness exercises
Most people live a sedentary lifestyle, the hip can become very stiff with limited mobility. Hips can cause lower back issues and general movement compensations. Functional training exercise opens the hip and strengthens the core muscles while improving mobility in the upper spine.
Remember your breathing techniques: Breath in/out and you sink the hips down into the movement.
Hip and Thoracic Openers:
This hip-opening exercises as part of a warm-up
Position: Roll down to the floor. Place both arms and knee on the floor. Bring Right leg forward at 90deg. Extend Left leg back. Bring Right arm up toward the ceiling while turning the chest towards the Right leg. Hold
for 20sec, Breath in/out into the movement.
Repeat on Left Leg
Functional training exercise has 4 parts: Squat down into a deep squat, hands down and strengthen the legs (breath in), return to a deep squat and hands up (Breath out), stand back up tall (breath in). Only moves as fast as your breathing will allow and work on trying to straighten the legs while the fingertips are touching the floor.
Side lunge with Reach and Twist
Side lunge can be intimidating. It works into the buttocks as you overload on one side. It also encourages the strengthening of the back extensors as you struggle against gravity to keep chest up.
Also, increase hip mobility as the legs are separated during the lunge. Keep chest high and weight is back on the heels rather than the toes.
Directions: Side lunge to the right. Bring right leg and cross behind left leg. Twist the upper body towards the Left side
Stir the Pot with Stability Ball
Functional exercise works on every muscle of your core along with your shoulders, back, chest, buttock, and legs. Begin in plank position. Refer to plank exercises… on the stability ball but then rotate the arms around in a circle going as far forward as you can manage.
Recommend: Practiced the standard plank first and become efficient before moving to advanced exercise. Always Keep the core muscles tight and hip should remain in a neutral position.
The ultimate full body functional training exercises that improve overall strength and mobility. Performed with Kettlebell or dumbbell or just with your own body weight.
Direction: Lay flat on the floor with Right arm up towards the ceiling and Right leg bend. Lift up into sitting position. Lift your buttock off the floor while straightening your left leg and reaching upward with your Right arm with the Left hand planted on the floor. Hold the position for 3 seconds. Slowly curl Left leg under your hip with knee down. In lunge position, slowly, bring left leg up toward standing position with Right arm up.
In conclusion: Functional fitness training is a great way to implement exercises with activity to daily living to decrease the risk of injury and increase overall muscle strength in a multidimensional way.
My life revolves around health and fitness. As a young child, I enjoyed different style of dance. As an adult, I became a physical therapist. I helped people recover from injuries, pain or surgery. I also enjoy working out in my spare time. So I started teaching group fitness classes.
This blog is all about health, fitness and healthy lifestyle.