Functional training is effective. There’s no doubt about it. It’s a form of exercise that when done correctly, can help improve every aspect of your fitness, from strength and core stability, to stamina and muscle flexibility.
It’s easy to look at the functional training area in a gym and be overwhelmed. There are no instructions on how to exercise here (unlike the pictures on weight lifting machines), and the last thing you want to be doing is making a fool of yourself.
But when you do know how to utilise the functional space effectively, you can make a huge difference to your body.
What is Functional Training?
Functional training is all about every day movements and exercises that prepare your body for daily tasks. It’s about mimicking tasks you carry out without realising, specifically targeting those muscles for development so that your ability and fitness levels increase.
It provides you with real results for real life, so carrying the shopping or lifting heavy boxes becomes easier and safer.
Many people get put off by the notion of functional training, but, it’s not complicated. In fact, some of the most basic exercises are functional, including squatting, reaching, lunging and twisting. And it doesn’t have to be difficult either; it’s about exercising within your own limits, and getting the improvements that help in your daily life.
Though of course you will need to work hard to get the best results.
Multiple movements is often the key to functional training; it’s not about just sitting down doing bicep curls, but rather performing walking lunges whilst you do those curls!
When done correctly, it’s highly effective, and is ideal for keeping workouts fresh; you’re not just on the same old machines day in, day out. You can burn lots of calories too, as functional training is ideal for combining with a HIIT style workout.
What are the benefits?
Functional training has a number of great benefits for the body:
- It uses movements which work multiple muscles and multiple joints, giving your body a full, overall workout.
- It’s fresh and challenging, helping you to avoid the dreaded plateau.
- It helps avoid repetitive strain injuries. Unlike repeat weight lifting or regular running, you’re not putting your body, muscles and joints through the same movements and pressure every workout.
- It’s strengthens your core. Because our core is such an important part of every day activities, almost all functional training exercises will hit your abs region in one way or another.
- It’s great for balance, stability and coordination.
- It also improves your flexibility and agility, helping with sports specific training.
- It burns fat.
- It improves your posture.
Functional Training at Hale Country Club
We’ve got a large functional space at Hale Country Club to help you make the most of the exercises which can truly improve your fitness and change your body.
Here are just a few examples of what to do with them.
This long straight running strip is ideal for doing shuttle sprints, but as per any functional exercise, you shouldn’t just be running. Be sure to crouch at either end and touch the lines. You can even shuttle between each measurement, getting wider then narrower, performing great lateral movements for your muscles and joints.
Standing long jumps and frog hops will also work all your leg muscles, as well as activating your core. And kettle bell lunges are perhaps the ultimate example in a multi-muscle movement.
The Monkey Bars
Everyone knows how to use the monkey bars, and they’re an ideal way to work your arms and your core, whilst performing transverse movements on the shoulder joints. Try and use only one hand on each bar, and if you really want to challenge yourself, stretch your reach by skipping out alternate bars.
Of course, they can also be used for pull-ups, which are a great functional exercise, not just targeting your upper arms, but your chest and abdominals too. If you’re feeling adventurous, hang by your legs and perform an inverted crunch!
The Box Jump Pads
These soft pads are ideal for plyometric jumps, and will really help you develop power from your legs and glutes. Adjust the pads to your target height, and spring up onto them, landing in a squat position. This exercise helps your balance too, as well as your core stability.
Finally, have a go with the Bulgarian bag. Whichever way you choose to carry it – in front of your chest or over your shoulders – you’ll be working a range of muscle groups!