The Real Benefits of Functional Training
By Nadia Ellis
We hear a lot about functional and core training but is it just another passing “fitness fad” or should all of us be incorporating this concept into our exercise routines?
Having been in the fitness industry for more than 14 years I am convinced that the addition of functional movements into your current exercise routine will be one of the most important changes you could make for better overall fitness and good health.
Traditional “weightlifting” exercises generally target only one muscle for each exercise. Functional training exercise generally targets more than one body part with each movement or exercise. Functional training emerged primarily from the sports conditioning and rehabilitation world. Functional training refers to the type of exercises that contribute to better, more efficient and safer performance of real world activities or sports movements.
The short list of functional training benefits are:
*Building “inner strength”
*Improve range of motion
Functional training allows you to work your muscles on different planes (hitting different angles) and building strength in those “stabilizer” muscles as well as the main target muscle. Machines are pre-set using only the muscle and angle that the machine allows. Multi-plane exercises are more complex movements and more closely mimic movements that are used in everyday life.
The easy way to begin to add functional movements to your training is to simply write down what you do every day. What are your physical challenges? If you’re a secretary you may find that your legs and back ache at the end of the day from picking files from the floor. These would be your first areas to target. Don’t think of fitness as something that is done only in a gym. By simply taking advantage of your every day movements you can turn your office or home into an effective functional training area!
For more formal exercise, stability balls, resistance bands with handles or simply beginning to do some of your training on an unstable surface will be a good introduction to more functional training. Remember, it’s always safety first, so make sure you consult with your physician before starting any physical program and ask a certified personal trainer to help you get started if you’re unfamiliar with any new piece of equipment or training method.
I invite you to apply just some of the principles of functional strength training to see where it takes you. I’m convinced that by adding functional training to your current conditioning program you will begin to see tremendous results.
About The Author, Nadia Ellis
Nadia has over 14 years of experience as a personal fitness trainer. Nadia has exceptional knowledge in the fields of Core Stability & Functional Training, Weight Management, Toning and Sculpting as well as Post-Rehabilitation Training.
Nadia is also a “Trainer of Trainers” having educated personal trainers, fitness instructors and coaches through her participation as an instructor in the W.I.T.S. Personal Trainer Certification Course.
She is the founder, director and program developer of Rhythms Personal Training Center, located at the exclusive Mineral Spa and Resort just outside of New York City. Nadia is also the owner and president of Professional Fitness & Coaching, a company specializing in personal training, consulting and corporate team-building events…
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