True Functional Training
First, lets look at what functional actually means.
Functional - Func.tion.al
1. capable of operating or functioning
2. capable of serving the purpose for which it was intended
(Webster's Encyclopedia 2nd Edition, 1996)
Based on that definition, you can draw many conclusions as to what is functional. Depending upon who you ask, you will most likely get a diverse variety of responses as to what is functional. All human movement is a combination of various functions. Human movement cannot take place without muscular function. According to the functional training "experts", functional training uses bands, balls, free-weights, and plyometric exercises in an attempt to condition the body in an un-stable environment. Many of the experts feel that performing exercises that mimic activities or specific skills is the most effective way to train, regardless of ones goal.
Physical fitness is oriented on an ability to perform physical work. The term "lifting-weights" is merely gym jargon for machine-based training and/or conventional style free-weight- bodybuilder style weight training. Functional exercises use compound movements. This provides a well-rounded form of training as well as allows your body to practice movements performed practically every day in natural life.
Comparing functional form of strength to a non-functional form of strength through a particular exercise. Take the bicep curl, in its many forms- it is a non-functional exercise as you almost never do anything in life that requires just that part of your body to move in that exact way. Now picture the pull-up with your palms facing you. This is definitely working the bicep, shoulder, back, forearm grip, and most of all abs/core strength. This is a functional exercise and one that will produce some of the absolute best overall results.
A strong person must be someone who is coordinated, agile, accurate, and have good balance or else their strength cannot be maximized to accomplish a lift or even a simple everyday task.
In order to maximize human performance, you must have a good understanding of what affects performance. The factors that play the greatest role in performance are:
Power (Strength and Speed)
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Conditioning
Sport Skill (Neuromuscular Coordination and Efficiency)
If your goal is optimum physical competence
then all the general physical skills must be considered:
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance- The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
2. Stamina - The ability of body systems
to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
4. Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
8. Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
9. Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
Functional training focuses directly on the core and working every muscle group in conjunction with the core.
Good post, but my problem reading articles like that is I don't see a visual description. Post a youtube vid or something.
Good article always believe.
Sure! :) You can visit my blog and see great videos, read further articles and even see the Workout Of the Day that I assign and train each of my clients.
Click Here To Go To Synergy Boot Camp
THERE IS A BETTER WAY!
Just so everyone knows the views expressed here are my own opinions and preferences. I don't believe there is one or even two ways to achieve results. There are many roads to fitness. Everyone must find the best one for them. I believe I've found mine.
Something that I've been noticing lately is how "behind the times" most Personal Trainers are these days with their training programs. I've worked in gyms and health clubs for the past 9 years or so. I have rubbed shoulders with some great personal trainers and have witnessed very poor personal trainers. What I mean by "behind the times" is training traditionally by having their clients perform body builder workouts. A typical body builder workout entails isolating exercises that are usually performed on machines as well as some barbell and dumbbell work.
There is nothing wrong with machines if you are a body builder, but if you are not and are either an athlete in another sport or a typical gym-goer who simply wants to get in the best shape they can then machines/isolation work are definitely not for you. This is because by isolating a particular muscle on a machine your body does not work to stabilize itself, but rather the machine does this for you. People who rely on machine or isolation work are not functionally strong and cannot do very much outside this style of training.
Body builders need isolation to create muscle hypertrophy in order to promote extreme muscle growth for shaping their bodies. Just because many of them may look pretty(in the eye of the beholder) means nothing to how they can perform and function in a workout filled with movements that force the body's joints to stabilize themselves and then toss in a need for high cardiorespitory output these body builders/ typical training client will fail very quickly.
When training the body as a "unit" it will be able to stabilize itself and become not only much stronger very quickly, but also quite functional in a great many areas in life and sports. To do this we work with compound(multi-joint) movements free from machines and inhibition. Functional training movements are not limited to any machine, but are free to use such exercises as bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, ropes, kegs, tires, sledge hammers, sleds, gymnastic rings, jump boxes, stability balls, pullup and dip bars, medicine balls, sandbags, and the list goes on.
Performing exercises such as these in a circuit format with extreme intensity in order to produce a great cardiorespitory response you will experience both the anaerobic and aerobic environments. Many people won't ever have to train separately for cardio because they get the best of both worlds within one intense workout that takes less than 30 minutes. So with a good warm-up, workout, and post workout stretch you will be in and out of the gym in less than an hour!!! That's great news. Do that 3-5x a week and you won't be in great shape- you'll be in ELITE shape in a very short time.
There is a better way to the "classicalness" of typical gym workouts resulting in hours of wasted steady-state cardio time and isolated exercises taking your muscles to failure. Yup! The better way is to train synergistically and smart in an intense circuit of functional exercises. If you aren't doing this now begin carefully and I suggest hiring a Personal Trainer to take you through at least a few months in order to educate you on the proper program design and movement form. Exercise isn't something that's complicated. What can be complex is how to ensure your body continues to change and grow with the best workout for it. Your body must experience different programs very frequently in order to constantly change. If you do the same thing all the time you will get the same results. That is actually the loose definition to insanity. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Hmmm... What does this say about many, many people in gyms today? Not us though! Not us. Every workout is different and every workout is challenging. That is why every workout promotes change and growth. That is the difference. That is the "better way".
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