Since the birth of the fitness industry, conventional gyms have been largely based around training with machines, muscle isolation, and linear movement.
This is great if you are looking to build big muscles for aesthetic reasons, however these methods of training do little to actually put the body through many movement patterns that it was designed to do. More recently, functional training methods are becoming a lot more popular among personal trainers and fitness instructors to add another interesting dynamic to their clients’ workouts.
Functional training encompasses multi-directional, multi-joint movement and acknowledges that the body functions as a whole unit with many moving parts. This type of training is very useful for developing proper neuromuscular activation (brain-body connection), improving balance and co-ordination, and preparing your body to better perform tasks of daily living, sports, and recreational activities.
There are several other advantages of functional training, including better range of motion, improved joint stabilization, and increased core stabilization.
That means if done right, adding this type of exercise to your training program may lessen the risk of injury. Since the majority of us spend our days sitting at desk jobs, stuck in the car in traffic, or sitting on the couch in front of the TV, low back pain is a large (although easily preventable) problem in our society. Recent studies have shown that exercise is the best medicine for preventing or managing low back pain.
Whether your training goal is to improve performance in sport, be able to carry bags full of groceries upstairs, or carry your baby in one hand while multitasking with the other, functional training can be useful for you.
Another big plus – if you are looking for a workout to increase your heart rate without running on a boring treadmill, the dynamic nature of functional training can also burn more calories and improve cardio. That means a fun and challenging training method that might take you one step closer to getting the body you want.
With all of this in mind when choosing a training program, it is ultimately most important to remember what your goals are and what sport, activity or purpose you are training for.
Your personal trainer or coach will ultimately have the best recommendation of what kind of training program is right for you based on various different factors, so it is always a good idea to consult them when coming up with a game plan for your fitness goals.
So step away from the hack squat and get on the turf!