Functional training : Just fancy or important?
Exercise • • 1 minute to read • By Sheikh Nadir Siddiquee, INFS Faculty
Author: Sheikh Nadir Siddiquee
When I was new to Fitness, I had a perception that functional training is a cool but tough form of training that only experts could do. As I spent years in the industry, I learned and realized that functional training is nothing but training in movements that translates to real-life movements.
Squatting, Deadlifting, Pressing, Pulling, Walking, Balancing, etc are all functional movements and they can be done in multiple ways.
Functional training means training for better function and it can be achieved using the following:
- Balance Training
- Resistance training
- Kettlebell Training
- Resistance Band Training
- Battle rope training
- Medicine Ball Training
As a person gets older, there is a common issue of losing the body's balance. As a coach, it is crucial to develop the client’s ability to keep the body in equilibrium while in a static or dynamic position. This emphasizes the inclusion of balance training in a routine.
Balance training inclusion could improve posture control and overall performance in an individual (Zech et al., 2010).
You could start focusing on balance training by first focusing on a single leg or arm balance on a stable surface and then gradually moving to controlled but unstable surfaces.
**** Resistance Training
Resistance training includes various forms of training. Using machines or free weights could also be used in strengthening movements that involve pushing, pulling, squatting, lifting, etc. Gym or studio-based training works great for clients who are completely new to the exercise regime as machines provide all the required stability and is low at risk.
Calisthenics is a form of bodyweight training and requires minimal equipment. It involves push-ups, pull-ups, pistol squat, etc to train from anywhere and can also be done by anyone if proper progression is followed. A lot of people think that Calisthenics cannot build muscles or cannot build strength but that is just a myth and if done correctly, it could help you achieve both.
A Kettlebell is a flat-bottomed cast-iron ball with a handle. It is designed in such a way that the center of mass for the kettlebell is away from the handle which makes it difficult to work out with.
Benefits of Kettlebell training include:
● Increased grip strength
● Increased core engagement
● Increased involvement of stabilizers and prime movers
● Requires mental focus
● Targets multiple muscle groups
Resistance Band training
The elastic band is an inexpensive and portable tool for training. They can be carried and used anywhere. Even though they are not great for maximal strength development, they are good for beginners and people coming in from rehabilitation.
Battle ropes are thick ropes usually found in commercial gyms or CrossFit boxes to complete some high-intensity work. They are great for increasing heart rate and boosting anaerobic endurance.
Medicine Balls are usually made up of hard rubber, leather, or leather-like pushups material.
They have been used for ages for rehabilitation and power training. The usage of medicine balls in the strength and conditioning industry is huge as they are a quick and easy alternative to Olympic lifting for power building work.
Medicine balls could be used to squat, push, pass, throw or slam for multiple outcomes. They are used for adding resistance or explosive work to build power.
Functional training is not limited to just these forms of training. It can be done using a variety of training methods and it should be a part of the routine for improving functional efficiency of an individual.
- Zech, A. et al. (2010) ‘Balance Training for Neuromuscular Control and Performance Enhancement: A Systematic Review’, Journal of Athletic Training, 45(4), pp. 392–403. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-45.4.392.
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