With the new year here and people trying to stick to their goals for 2018, when it comes to fitness, we like to remind our clients that it’s not a resolution, it’s a lifestyle. This is true when it comes to choosing to incorporate fitness into your daily routine. Working out is not all about building muscle and “looking good,” but you should remember that lifting weights and doing cardio plays a huge role in your functional fitness too. So, we can agree that it’s not a workout, it’s about training for life. That’s what functional fitness is all about.
So, what is a functional exercise? A movement that challenges and enhances balance and coordination while simultaneously working to improve strength and range of motion.
Let’s dive a little deeper.
When you’re working on your lower body one day and think to use a Bosu ball on the ground to stand on, holding a squat, that’s a great strength-focused exercise and will help to build muscle, but is it a movement we do in our everyday life? No.
Majority of our activities take place on solid ground.
Reaching above to grab a box, lifting a heavy object from the ground, running up and down stairs, getting in and out of your car and even sitting and standing into and out of a chair are just a few of our common daily activities that can be improved in form and ability by thinking about balance, coordination, strength and range of motion.
The best stability exercises come from lunges (with or without weight) on solid ground, plyometrics, step-ups, lateral movements, agility drills, jumping movements, etc. because to perform these correctly, you’ll need to have balance and engage a variety of muscle groups.
Keep in mind that we use our entire body every day. While some tasks may require more upper or lower body strength at a time, many are full body and that’s why it’s ideal if your functional movements use a variety of muscles at once, in the lower and upper body.
Did you know that the more muscles you use at once, the faster you’ll push through a workout and the more calories you’ll burn?
It’s about the explosiveness of a movement. Explosive pushups, medicine ball slams, lunge hops, just to name a few, are perfect examples of ways to enhance your power. If you work on power, you’ll notice a change in the speed you’re able to do something in real life situations.
Range of Motion
Don’t restrict yourself to just one plane. Our bodies are meant to move up and down, forward and back and bend as needed, so should our exercises. Don’t just restrict yourself to deadlifts on the ground, try standing on an elevated surface and dropping the bar down further past your toes next time. You’ll feel this motion much more in your hips and glutes on your way back up.
So, don’t forget to drop in a few functional fitness exercises each workout.