Functional training is all about exercises that use body movements from everyday activities. Movement patterns such as pushing, pulling, squatting, or bending are used during functional training. Normal gait patterns like walking and running are also included in some functional exercise routines. There are lots of reasons to include functional training in your fitness routine, including:
– Recovery from Injury
Functional training was originally used by therapists to assist patients with specific movement problems. The key is to develop exercises that mimic activities from daily life and work on ways to use those movements to assist in recovery from injury and reduce the length of time taken for rehabilitation.
– Reduce Risk of Future Injuries
Resistance training that replicates movements from daily activities is a great way to build strength. As joint movement and muscle tone improves, you effectively reduce the potential of future injuries.
– Boost Core Strength
Muscle builders use functional weight training to target core muscles, those in the lower back and abdomen. Pilates and yoga use similar movements to help build core strength, which can improve posture and reduce back pain.
– Improved Range of Movement and Mobility
Regular functional training can be ideal for improving your overall range of movement. It can also be excellent for increasing joint mobility, especially after recovering from an injury or surgical procedure.
– Stability and Balance
Building strength in certain muscle groups, such as the hip abductors and rotators, can improve stability and balance. When hips are stabilized, function of the ankle, knee and hip are all maximized.
– Build Endurance
Functional training is often used to build endurance in sportspeople. Regular exercise with the right type of activity leads to more efficient motor patterns and can improve performance.
– Increase Flexibility
The whole point of functional training is to replicate the body’s natural planes of motion. Contracting muscles is one aspect, but it’s equally important to stretch muscles effectively to help increase flexibility.
– Develop Muscle Tone
Many functional training exercises can be ideal for improving overall muscle tone. Lunges and squats are useful for toning legs, thighs and buttocks. Walking helps to tone the legs and buttocks, but can also help to strengthen core muscles in the back and abdomen.
Perhaps the best part about functional training is that exercises can be done at home or at the gym. Simple movements that include squats, lunges, bicep curls or step-ups can be ideal for improving agility and joint mobility without the use of equipment or weights. As you add more functional exercises to your daily routine, you should notice improvements in your ability to perform everyday tasks. Find out how many calories you burn walking, running and exercising with our calculator.