Functional Fitness – Part 2

Essential Components Of Functional Workouts

There are several elements to functional workouts that make them that much more effective. These need to be adapted to each individual’s goals and needs.

  • The workouts should be directed toward one’s specific everyday life activities.
  • Individualized programs that tailor to the specific goals and needs of an individual. For example, specific exercises that are made for someone age 60 who wants to avoid falls, any adult looking to improve their day to day activity performance, or an athlete training in a specific sport or someone who is in physical therapy and retraining their body. No matter the circumstance, the workouts should focus on meaningful tasks.
  • The overall state of health of the individual should be considered when assessing the types of exercises to use and the overall training load.
  • There should be a well-integrated program that includes power, strength, balance, and core exercises that focus on multiple movement planes.
  • The training should progress with increasing difficulty.
  • The training should include varying tasks.
  • Functional training should be repeated regularly on an ongoing basis.
  • Feedback as to progression is needed either through self-assessment or the assessment of a trainer or physical therapist.

Examples Of Functional Exercises

  • Any exercise that involves standing on two feet and supporting yourself while lifting any type of weight is typically a functional exercise. You can really do this at home just by repeating activities that mimic the above.
  • Balance Exercises – Various balance exercises without weights that teach the body to stabilize itself.
  • Exercise Ball – The greatest benefit to training using ball exercises is that they target the core muscles that are vital for stability and good posture. There are many different moves with the ball.
  • BOSU Ball – As opposed to the exercise ball, a BOSU has a round side and a flat side. The BOSU makes any exercise a lot more challenging because it adds an element of instability to each workout as it forces you to use the core to remain steady. BOSU workouts also work to improve strength and help muscles learn to work together that prevents injury in real life.
  • Bent-Over Row – works the back, shoulder and arm muscles and mimics life activities. Think about bending over to make the bed, a mechanic bending to repair a car, bending over to plug in electronics, a carpenter bending over a saw table, even bending down to get something from a low shelf and many more. Much more useful when compared to a seated row, where you are only working the chest and arms, and your body is not activating its core stabilizer muscles, and therefore, it is not learning to use those muscles together because the machine is doing the work.
  • Stand On One Leg (you can start by holding onto a chair at first, then work to doing it on your own)
  • One-Legged Squat
  • Lift Off
  • Single-Leg Deadlift
  • Single Dumbbell Row
  • Medicine Ball Squat With Overhead Lift
  • Medicine Ball Reach
  • Multidirectional Lunges
  • Standing Bicep Curls
  • Step-Ups With Weights
  • Dumbbell Lunge
  • Lunge With Back Row
  • Deadlift
  • Powerclean
  • Overhead Press
  • Front Squats
  • Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups
  • Kettlebell or Dumbbell Swing
  • Planks
  • And Many more

Make sure that you come back here for the last post of this series next Sunday to learn how to get started.

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