A few of the greatest benefits to functional training are:
- Strengthens the muscles your body calls on everyday
- Prevent injuries that you might encounter in routine activities
- Develop good form that will make daily activities safer and easier to perform
- Increase your energy levels so you are more productive all the time
Still not convinced? One of the most common problems that my clients face is back pain.
It can be chronic pain that they think they just have to live with, or occasional pulls or
strains that make the next few days very uncomfortable. By looking at what kinds of
movements they do everyday we first focus on improving their form and then come up with
strength exercises that will re-enforce the smaller, often weak muscles that are responsible
for stabilizing the body while it performs tasks. This has been shown time and again to not
just prevent the occasional injury, but the chronic pain group has been able to finally
be relieved of the pain that has hindered them for years!
Functional workouts aren’t just for the “everyday warrior” either. The Toronto
Maple Leafs’ Gary Roberts credits functional training for his injury come back when he joined the Leafs. For you golfers, any successful golf program must include function specific movements that strengthen the core (think “abs”and back) which is where the power should be generated for your swing. One of my own clients who is an avid cyclist was amazed by the new speed and stamina he found through a routine that included functional training.
Some examples of functional movements include:
- Rotation exercises
When implementing a functional training program, keep in mind these important considerations:
- Use all planes of movements (don’t just stand straight forward)
- Create instability
- Use gravity as resistance
- Include speed and reactive training
Some examples of functional movements are:
Squats with a medicine ball
- You can add rotations, change the speed and even go on one leg.
- You can use gravity to your advantage here. You can try walking pushups or try putting a quick clap in between each push up performed.
Functional exercises are really quite endless. The best part is you generally don’t need a lot of
equipment. This type of training can be done literally anywhere.
So if you are an athlete looking to improve your sport or simply someone wanting to improve their health, look and feel better then put some functional exercises in your training program and watch for some amazing results!