Functional training has been utilised as a buzz term for many years now. The idea behind functional exercises is that each exercise should become more natural and carry over into your everyday life. For instance, improving your squats could help you get up and down from a chair. Lunges would make climbing up stairs easier. Functional exercises have a tendency to activate more muscles and – as a result – consume more energy. These multidimensional exercises also tend to enhance your natural movement skills and improve your general mobility.
Functional exercises require free weights and not machines. Weight machines require you to move in a very specific as well as rigid way. That doesn’t simulate how your body actually moves in real life. For instance, think of the leg extension machine. You will never just use your quads. They are going to work with the glutes, hamstrings as well as the core. Instead, doing a functional movement like a squat is much more efficient from a strength-training perspective. In addition, this also allows you to train the muscles to work together seamlessly as these never really function alone.
Functional Exercises To Add To Your Workout
Medicine Ball Squats With Overhead Lift
- Stand up tall and have your feet hip-distance apart. Hold a light medicine ball in front of you with both of your hands.
- Squat down while moving your bum back. Keep your knees over your ankles and then lower the medicine ball to the floor. While performing this movement, keep your head up and back straight. In other words, don’t hunch.
- Return to your starting position. Lift the medicine ball over your head.
- Repeat the squat and then lower ball to the ground.
- Perform three sets of 10 reps. Use a heavier ball as you get stronger.
Stair Climb With Bicep Curl
- Stand up straight at the bottom of a flight of stairs, holding a 2- to 3-kilogram dumbbell in each hand.
- Climb the stairs while doing bicep curls.
- Walk or run down the stairs while you are holding the weights, however, don’t do curls.
- Repeat between five and 10 times.
- Increase the weights of the dumbbells as your arms get stronger. Mix up your climbs by taking two steps at a time for a flight or two.
Isolation Exercises Have Their Place
Isolation exercises have a purpose. If you consult a personal trainer with an acute injury, and they needed to help you to strengthen a particular muscle group, the fitness professional might have them isolate that muscle group. However, wouldn’t be their primary area of focus.
Most people’s workouts—if you’re working out to be in shape and improve overall health—should consist mainly of compound and functional movements, with isolation exercises peppered in as needed to address a weakness or improve stability in a certain joint (like your shoulders).
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