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  • Corrine Banks

The What and How of Functional Training

Functional Training isn't a new concept. In fact you could argue our ancestors have done it for thousands of years. If you have been in a strength training split routine (isolating muscle groups to train only 1 or 2 body parts during the workout) you may want to incorporate Functional Training into your weekly routine or throw it in once a month to switch things up. The video below shows a few different functional training movements.

What is Functional Training?

Functional training uses movements with multiple muscles working together often times incorporating core and balance. The movements are adapted in a way that allow one to perform movements of daily life more easily and with out injury. There is a purpose to all forms of exercise and I do not promote one over the other but rather choose to incorporate them all into my life.

Types of Functional Training

  • Compound exercises combine a single exercise focused on one muscle group with other movements focusing on different muscle groups to form a functional movement. In this example I am doing a standard bicep curl while balancing on a bosu (half ball) on one leg while doing a hip opening leg swing with the other leg. Here are the adjustable dumbbells I now use.

  • Compound functional movements like the Romanian Dead Lift (RDL) as shown in the video mimic movements you might do in daily life such a picking up a box from the floor. You can find a barbell set here.

  • Explosive movements use your fast twitch muscle fibers and facia to perform fast powerful movements. Any type of jumping is explosive. A tuck jump as shown here done on the bosu for added balance is more explosive than say a tiny bunny hop. These types of movements are also bone strengthening.

  • Explosive functional movements take a functional movement like the push-up and add that explosive element transforming it from strength work to strength and power. Essentially the jump squat is the same type of exercise. The exercise in this video is a power push up. Instead of pushing myself back up I pull the bosu up with me at the same time in an explosive fashion. Can you tell I love the bosu? Find it here.

  • Combination functional exercises use two or more functional exercises together. In this video I am performing a push up, to a vertical jump, to a pull up. This elevates the heart rate by taking two upper body functional movements and linking them with a lower body explosive jump.

How to implement into your routine

Use your imagination to put these concepts into practice. I have given you just a few visual examples here but, there are hundreds of ways to combine exercises, add power, and incorporate daily life movements into your exercise regime to mix things up and challenge your muscles in new ways. Most sports that you could participate in will use functional training. Whether swimming, running, biking, rowing, tennis, golf, paddling, surfing, gymnastics, and so on. You are using multiple muscle groups together to power your body. Take some of the elements from your favorite sports to creative innovative exercises. A word of caution: always check in with a certified personal trainer if you are not sure how to perform any exercise with proper form or you could end up injuring yourself setting you backward instead of forward in your training. Of course if you are in the Ocean City, MD area contact me for help! If not, we may be able to set up skype in home training sessions. Comment below ort connect with me via facebook messenger, instagram message, or email.

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