You’ve heard me talk a lot about resistance training, weight training, and strength training. These are all different ways of talking about exercise involving weight resistance.
You may have also heard of functional training, a specific type of training that’s growing more and more popular.
But what is functional training? And how can it help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals?
First, let’s look at the most basic definition of the word functional. Functional means “capable of serving the purpose for which something was intended.”
According to this definition, we know that all movements incorporate a variety of functions, using different combinations of muscles. But functional training attempts to condition the body in an unstable setting, using exercise balls, stretching bands and tubes, free weights, and plyometric exercises. By definition, functional exercises are compound exercises, which means they rely on multiple muscle groups.
By doing so, experts claim that the body is trained in a way that better conditions it everyday activities, movements, and functions. In effect, the training results in a more functional body, and things like balance and coordination are improved.
Functional training is effective for both athletes and fitness beginners. The main benefit of functional training is that it does not require heavy weights or expensive machines. And this makes sense, because we don’t spend our lives sitting in a leg-press machine or walking on a treadmill!
This is why functional training is such a great option for beginners, who may not have access to a gym or heavy equipment (or may find it intimidating). Functional training is also great for weight loss, as it engages the entire body and usually involves muscles that you don’t normally work out at the gym (like the ones we use for balance).
So here are some effective functional training exercises to get you started!
Functional Training Exercises
Functional Training Exercise: Squat Tosses – This one works on your abdominal and lower body muscles. All you need is a medicine ball, which you’re going to start off holding with both hands. Keep your feet at shoulder-width, and squat deeply into sitting position. Then engage your lower body as you rapidly push the ball overhead, returning your body to starting position. To make it more challenging, you can actually incorporate a jump as you return to starting.
Functional Training Exercise: Lunge with Arm Curl – This one develops your biceps, forearms, abs, back, and legs. All you need is a light set of dumbbell weights. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, engage in a reverse lunge while simultaneously curling the dumbbells. Repeat on opposite side.
Functional Training Exercise: Hand Walks – All you need for this one is your body weight, and it hits your hamstrings, shoulders, lower back, and abdominals all at once. Start in a standing position with toes touching. Bend at the waist, and walk your hand out in front of you as far as possible. Make sure you avoid hyperextending your back or caving in, and don’t bend your knees. Follow by walking your feet back to the original position, and repeat.
Functional Training Conclusion
Not only are these exercises functional, they’re also great additions to your workout routine if you’re getting bored or have hit a plateau. They’re also great options for home or outdoor workouts.
If you’re doing a lot of functional training, or training of any kind, I definitely recommend incorporating a good recovery drink. A combination of Optimum 100% Natural Whey Protein and Optimum Glutamine to follow up your workouts is a great and effective option. They will speed up your recovery time.
Have any questions or feedback about functional training? Please leave a comment below…