Functional training – what is it about?

Almost every fitness club and almost every Personal trainer offers functional training. Recently it has been breaking popularity records. What is it, and should YOU be doing this form of training?

What is functional training?

Functional training is a deliberate system of exercises to develop a higher level of athletic preparation and minimize the likelihood of injury. It is a system prepared not only based on recent reports from the world of science, but also based on many years of coaching and physiotherapeutic experience. Functional training is not just about developing muscle mass for aesthetic purposes or Increasing strength. These are like “side effects” of training aimed at improving health and Quality of life.

The main goals are to reduce the risk of injury, to reduce the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and to improve sports performance. It focuses on preventing injuries by including appropriate corrective exercises, but also, at the same time, on Improving sports performance or improving the functioning of the body. This is achieved by progressively performing more and more demanding exercises, tailored individually to those exercising based on a series of tests.

It is not just a passing trend, but the result of increased knowledge of training and rehabilitation. Functional training is the logical future not only in the field of Improving sports performance but also in the field of personal training. As the name suggests, it promotes training according to a function, whether it is the kind we must perform in a given sport or the kind we have lost (e.g. as a result of a sedentary lifestyle).

Equipment used for functional training

When it comes to equipment used for functional training, the choice is very broad. In addition to traditional solutions, such as barbells and dumbbells, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with other tools.

  • Kettlebell
    It is incredibly helpful in functional training. As the core weight of the mass is not in the centre, we will have to use muscles that are responsible for local and global stability more than with classic loads. Thus, kettlebell mimics most of the objects of everyday life well, such as a shopping bag.
  • Sled
    The exercise sled allows you to perform numerous Movement patterns without making major changes to the equipment itself. You can push it in different directions without changing the load on it. During activity, most of the back and front muscles will be involved, which are used by athletes as well as during everyday activities.
  • What is functional training?
  • Batlle ropes
    They offer the Perfect balance between endurance and strength training. They can easily be paired together with the sled in order to pull it along, which is quite a popular element of training for American football and rugby players.
  • Slam ball
    Another great piece of equipment used in functional training is the slam ball. It is a great tool used to improve explosive force, dynamics or motor coordination. You can work with the ball from different angles and thus moderate the activity of the rectus abdominus (ab) muscles, oblique muscles or even hip flexors.
  • TRX
    The last element used in functional training, which is worth mentioning, is the suspension system training – TRX. As in the case of the above tools, with TRX we are able to work the whole body in practically all its planes while using most of the Movement patterns.

Aerobic and anaerobic workout

You have to exercise to lose weight. Diet alone is not enough at some point. However, the word exercise does not tell us much, because not every kind of exercise causes the same reactions in the body and doesn’t always help to lose weight. It happens that people Exercise intensively and still cannot get rid of body fat. So very often they give up their activities claiming that it makes no sense – if they don’t lose weight, there are no effects, then why bother?

Oxygen workout

A good type of weight-loss oriented workout are oxygen exercises – so called aerobic exercises. They are based on an average intensive effort of 50-80% of maximum heart rate (HRmax). Initially, for 20-30 minutes of such training, the body draws energy from muscle and liver glycogen, and then from free fatty acids.

To achieve the desired effect, aerobic exercises should be performed for at least 40 minutes, and the longer they last, the higher the amount of calories burned. Aerobic can be very Different in nature and is relatively easy to perform. This type of training can be practiced as part of running, cycling, swimming, rollerblading, etc.

The aim of aerobic workout effort is primarily to maintain the average intensity of exercise for a relatively long time, not less than the aforementioned 40 minutes.

Anaerobic training

Just because aerobic effort is an effective way to lose weight doesn’t mean that anaerobic (or anaerobic) exercise doesn’t help you lose weight quickly. On the contrary, although such exercises are mainly useful for increasing muscle mass, they can also be successfully used to get rid of fat tissue. Anaerobic training contributes to the improvement of metabolism (the rate of metabolism can increase up to three times) even up to 48 hours after the exercise.This type of activity also affects the production of collagen, which should positively translate into skin firmness and elasticity.

Another advantage of anaerobic training is the Reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body, as well as the regulation of glycemic levels. So what is an anaerobic training? It is based on intensive (at the level of more than 80% of the maximum heart rate) and at the same time short-term interval or strength training, during which the body uses mainly carbohydrates as an energy source.

aerobic workout

Anaerobic interval training consists of short Series of exercises, between which there is a moment of “rest” in the form of less intense exercises. Such training should last about 20-40 minutes and this is one of the best types of training for people who want to lose weight quickly. Interval exercises can be practised e. g. by cycling (some training bikes have special programs for such exercises), running, jumping, etc. Remember, however, that this type of exercise is very stressful for the body, so if you are just planning to start exercising, spend the first 2-3 months on lighter training to Prepare your body for maximum effort.

The most effective stomach exercise

Belly exercise should constitute a vital part of your workout if you want to enjoy a flat stomach. There’s a whole lot of such exercises. Which of them to choose?

Maintain a Balanced diet

If you dream of a beautiful summer body and are wondering how to lose the gut In a month through diet and stomach exercise, you need to avoid the following products during that time:

  • fried and greasy meals,
  • fast-food,
  • salty snacks,
  • candy,
  • cakes, pastries,
  • highly-processed products,
  • sweet drinks and juices.

The most effective stomach exercises

It’s time to focus on active exercising and finally learn the set of most recommended and effective exercises that will allow to Quickly achieve the dream results, improve condition and sculpt a flat and muscular stomach that is a dream of not only many women but also men. So which stomach exercises are good to perform to achieve relatively fast results?

  • Squats
    The most basic exercise recommended for the start. A properly performed squat requires standing with feet apart at the shoulders’ width. To maintain Balance, it’s a good idea to lift arms at the chest level. A squat is performed by lowering hips until the thighs become parallel to the floor – that’s when we stretch back up.
  • Torso bends with arm lifts while lying down
    The exercise requires lying down on a flat surface with arms stretched out above the head. We clench the abdominal muscles and lift our legs, straight in the knees, above the ground so that they make a 45 angle relative to the ground. In this position, we perform a bend – lifting our head, arms and shoulders while trying to touch the knees with our hands, then we return to the initial position.
  • Arches
    An exercise that is a little reminiscent of yoga, yet very effective in terms of strengthening abdominal muscles. In order to Perform it correctly, we need to lie down on the floor on our stomach, bend our legs in our knees so that we can grab our ankles with our hands. We take the arch position by lifting thighs and chest as high as we can – all while still holding our ankles with our hands. After lifting the body to the max we stop, and then we remain in the position for a few seconds and slowly return to the initial position.
  • stomach exercise
  • Sit-ups with legs lifted
    This variation of the classic sit-ups allows to tense up the abdominal muscles to the maximum, which allows to exercise them effectively. That’s another good exercise for beginners who still cannot perform too many repetitions of the traditional sit-ups. Performing the exercise properly requires a lying position (on the back) with hands crossed behind the neck. In a simpler version, hands can be stretched forward.
  • Moving from a board pose to a side board
    This exercise allows to exercise abdominal muscles in a different area than bends and squats. We take the board pose by resting on our forearms and straightening the body with hips above the ground (the body rests upon three points – both forearms and connected feet). We slowly move to the side board – we twist the body to the side by reaching one arm in the air and rotating the torso and hips and legs. Once the outstretched arm points vertically at the ceiling, we stop and return to the initial position.

Barbell squats – the right technique and load

Squat with a barbell is certainly one of the most important exercises to improve the athletic performance of athletes in many disciplines. However, this seemingly easy exercise turns out to be extremely complicated, that’s why many myths revolve around him.

How to do squats properly?

It may seem that doing barbell squats is a very simple thing. Nothing more wrong. It turns out that poorly performed fitness exercises can cause overloading of the knee and even degeneration of the spine.

What are the most important rules when doing squats?

  • First of all, do them slowly.
  • It’s important to keep your spine straight and your stomach pulled in during your workout.
  • Squats can be done in series: preferably 12-16 repetitions per series.

Why should you do squats with a barbell?

Although at first glance it seems that this is only an exercise for the muscles of the thighs and buttocks, it is worth knowing that barbell squats also involve other muscle groups, such as back and abdominal muscles, calves and many others. Therefore, it is said that squats with a barbell are a general development exercise and bring a lot of results – of course, provided it is Done correctly.

Preparation before exercises

Let’s also remember that as before any type of exercise, as well as before doing squats with a barbell, it is necessary to warm up, preparing muscles and increasing blood flow. It is also recommended to use a few initial series with less load after the Warm-up.

barbell squats

Graduate the exercise is highly suggested! What do you need? This exercise requires professional equipment, so it is recommended to do it at the gym. At the beginning, it is certainly good to use the help of a Professional trainer – both in terms of instruction and proper care (supervision).

The correct technique for doing exercises

The technique of squatting with a barbell is of colossal importance in terms of effectiveness as well as safety. Remember about the right position before doing squats with a barbell! If you don’t have experience, first ask for belaying during the exercise – preferably a person with experience.

  • Stand slightly apart in front of the barbell rack – have your feet in shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Spread your feet, sliding your toes slightly outwards.
  • Place the barbell on the shoulders on the so-called trapezoidal muscles – remember to grab it as wide as possible. Tilt your elbows back slightly.
  • Remember that the posture you take in the starting position is of key importance for the safety and results of exercises – remember to keep your back straight, the chest slightly forward, the lower back pushed out in front, take a deep breath.
  • Move (change position to squat) start by pushing your hips backwards – let them be the initiator of the movement, knees in the next order, go down until you feel the maximum extension of the quadriceps muscle. We stop moving for a moment.
  • Return to initial position – exhale. It can be carried out faster than the first move. Try not to straighten your knees all the way. When doing exercises, Remember to stabilize your posture all the time – don’t let go of your back or stomach muscles! Both feet fully on the ground!

Winter running – how to get prepared for running in the wintertime?

During the fall/winter period, plenty of people put away outdoor activities. Most of the time it’s due to low temperatures or rain. There is also a popular belief that running in the winter may cause more harm than good, although it is not true.

How to get prepared for running during winter?

Winter running is a whole different kind of fun compared to the rest of the year. Obviously, if we suddenly start running right in the middle of winter and when it’s extremely cold, we can indeed hurt ourselves. Snow is falling, it gets dark fast, the cold is biting at our ears and nose, and the freezing air makes breathing an arduous task. Such conditions make going outside to exercise a real triumph of willpower. Similar symptoms will be experienced particularly painfully by the beginning enthusiasts of running and they may lose their motivation to carry on very fast.

Those difficulties are easy to overcome by starting the journey with running much earlier. If we start running no later than by the turn of October, the body will be gradually getting used to the decreasing temperatures, but it’s a good idea to start even earlier than that. All kinds of sudden changes may have a negative impact not only on the perception of the effects of exercise, but also on its results.

Adequate clothing is essential. What to put on?

When it comes to very low temperatures, Thermal underwear might turn out to be a must and it’s a good thing to always have it around. It fits the body perfectly and drains moisture. On top of that, it is elastic, lightweight and incredibly comfortable.

When choosing the right outfit, it’s a good idea to use the rule of thumb: we dress as if it was 10 degrees more outside than in reality. After a very short time, our body will start warming up intensely, and overheating in such conditions might be very dangerous. That’s why we should forget about a down jacket, scarf or gloves. Long, insulated leggings and Lightweight running shoes will be more than enough.

winter running

The majority of body heat is expelled through head, which means it’s better to also leave the beanie hat at home. If the runner really does need it due to personal preferences, it should be something made of a thin material, or a kind that is easily penetrable by moisture and Breathable.

The cotton is definitely an enemy of a winter runner. It doesn’t expel moisture well enough and after a longer run it becomes heavy and wet. Which in turn contributes to faster heat loss, and when a cold and wet material is sticking to our back – we’re as good as cold! Which makes it a good idea to pay attention to the material our running gear is made of.

Another enemy of a winter runner is the surface. Rain, deep snow, or even ice are adversities we will have to face. Good shoes are a must. The best option will be models with an aggressive tread and Waterproof membrane. The kind that ensures stable running without the risk of slipping while also protecting from moisture. If shoes with that kind of soles turn out to be too expensive, there are also special anti-slip pads available on the market.

What else will we need?

Because winter is the time when it gets dark very fast, it’s a good idea to take care of several other pieces of equipment. Reflective elements should be an essential aspect of clothing regardless of the season, but it’s especially important in winter. Let’s not forget that when it’s dark, not only runners but also drivers have a very limited visibility, so they should look out for one another!

Running treks to the forest are a great idea, but for that kind of trip it’s better to get an additional light source. A lightweight and comfortable headlamp is a perfect solution for every kind of terrain that is not illuminated.