Consequently, there is a workout suitable for both situations and this is functional training.But what is it about? What are the typical exercises of this type of training and what are the benefits? Can it be carried out using just free body movement or can it include fitness tools?
What is meant by functional training?
Man was designed to move , just think of the importance for the race in human evolution: for our ancestors running faster than their enemies or prey became indispensable to their survival. Even in less dramatic times, like ours, movement is intrinsic to life, it is the basis of all our activities. Running, walking, lifting weights, collecting objects from the ground, stairs and a thousand other movements that form part of our daily lives.
If we think that athletes train intensively to perform their sporting moves, which are perhaps, highly specialized, then should we not train ourselves to manage the efforts required physically to get through our daily commitments and chores in life? But how do you prepare to face a day of (extra) ordinary life administration? The answer is simple: with functional training.
Functional training improves the movement of the entire body and not of the individual muscle areas. The concept on which this type of training is based is transferability, i. e. the learning of a motor gesture that can be used in everyday life or in sports. The reactivation and strengthening of the muscles take on a new importance, changing from a purely aesthetic goal to a goal which improves overall health for a physically easier life.
Functional exercises are characterized by multiarticular movements on several kinetic chains and are performed on different planes (horizontal, frontal, sagittal) and axis. They stimulate proprioception, body control and core activity.
The core , as the English term suggests, is the core of our body. It includes the abdominal area, pelvic floor, buttocks and lumbar muscles. Core has the important function of stabilizing and protecting the spine and improving posture so it is a valuable ally in everyday life. It also improves sports performance by ensuring proper transfer of pulses between the upper and lower body, allowing for larger and more explosive efforts. It is precisely from the centre of our body that the movement starts: with a stable and strong core everything will be easier and safer, from getting on a stool to performing squats and lunges.
There are two key concepts at the base of functional exercises: muscle synergy and natural movements.In our daily life there is no muscular isolation typical of the equipment room, where the exercises are often focused on a single specific gesture and a single muscle beam. Not even the workman of Charlie Chaplin, slave to the assembly line, moved in this way: in our everyday life, anything we do requires movements that involve different muscles.
Functional training is a 360-degree workout where specificity is not required. It's a natural way of training because it reflects our natural way of moving around. That's why functional training has a great impact on our life and not only on athletic preparation for a sport.
The squats played by a volleyball player are very similar to the jump he makes to crush. are Therefore, These are specific functional gestures but remain functional to this gesture but are still valid for everyone because they increase the resistance in general and improve coordination and balance which are all characteristics that have a positive impact in our daily routine.
What may vary in an athlete's training from that of a non-sporting athlete is the progression of the exercises: surely a professional will reach a higher level of difficulty. The progression is another peculiarity of functional exercises: motor skills are gradually acquired or strengthened, adding more and more complexity to the movements, for example by increasing instability conditions to ensure that all muscles are involved.
Functional Training Benefits
The list of benefits is long if we then think about the impact that this type of training has on everyday life. We can say that in general functional training develops and improves:
- strength and endurance of stabilizing and postural muscles, in particular abdominal and lumbar muscles
- joint mobility
- asymmetric force
Other benefits include improving cardiovascular capacity, agility and muscle tone. Thanks to functional training, new engine patterns are acquired that allow you to be not only stronger, but also more responsive, agile and coordinated.
It also creates joint and muscle stabilization and prevents injuries. You get greater body awareness and feel more elastic and flexible. It seems that functional training would also have beneficial effects on memory thanks to the stimuli that stimulate the central nervous system, not to mention that it is fun and varied and allows you to train the whole body with movements that remind you of what you do during your everyday life.
Free body or tools? The answer is Kinesis Personal
The free body is the ideal solution for performing a functional workout because it replicates the conditions of muscle synergy and natural movements. Moreover, tools such as kettlebells, fitness balls or specific accessories can also be used. The limit, if you like, of pure free body training is that you run the risk of doing the various exercises incorrectly, taking the wrong posture.
This is particularly true for those who do not have a long fitness experience behind them. Ideally, a personal trainer would be used initially to go over technique.
Fortunately there is a professional tool to perform movements as if we were free body but in fact are guided. Kinesis Personal is suitable for both beginners and professional sportsmen and women.