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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.