You may have heard of functional training but it’s a term that is sometimes misunderstood. Abu Dhabi personal trainer Elena has provided the UAE Personal Trainers website with some basic information about functional training and how it can be used in our day to day life.
When we say “functional training” we are talking about training your body to efficiently do the things that is required of it during daily/weekly activities. Functional training consists of exercises that engage multiple muscle groups of “compound exercises”. So instead of sitting and doing a bicep curl where only the bicep is engaged, we do movement that requires the muscles around the shoulder, elbow, core, back, hips, knees and ankles to all engage at the same time.
Our body is designed to move, not to sit all day. Functional training focuses on training movement patterns rather than isolating individual muscles.
It will help to improve your balance, agility and muscle strength and if you suffer from poor posture and muscle imbalance this will help to improve it for you too.
It is a great way to burn fat, loose weight and stimulate the whole body to build endurance and boost metabolism. These fat blasting workouts can also increase your stamina and strength.
Functional fitness training requires you to move against your own weight. This is exactly the kind of routine that is followed by gymnasts at the Olympics. Such exercises result in great muscle tone and definition.
It will also help the relationship between your mind and muscles, meaning if you want to play a certain sport, for example basketball, doing exercises with a heavy ball in functional classes will help you improve your strength, focus and speed whilst playing your favourite sport.
Training the body for daily activities
According to some sources the best explanation of functional training is ‘training the body for the activities performed in daily life’ This seems quite a broad statement so how does functional training help in our daily life?
With functional training we are training our bodies to move through the motions that our activities require for us. But so, the purpose of functional training is so that we can do these things efficiently, with a reduced risk of injury, without pain and with emphasis on a good form. Here are some examples:
T-Pushup: Work upper body strength and spinal stability with the twisting motion for getting off the floor
Farmers Carry: Train your core and full body stability for carrying the groceries or shopping bags!
Weighted Step-up: For carrying anything upstairs.
Balancing on Bosu: For being able to keep balance on slippery surface.
Does functional training target any particular area(s) of the body?
When we do functional training, we don’t train specific muscle group, we train whole movement that could help in our daily routine.
Is functional training a standalone exercise?
How does functional training fit in with other training methods, for example is it used to supplement other exercises or used as a stand-alone training method?
Functional training can be use as a stand-alone training method if it is required for rehabilitation, for example, or when the goal is to have multifunctional body where strength, agility, flexibility, coordination, balance is developed equally well.
Also, FT can be perfectly fit in bodybuilding program, as it helps to improve range of motion for some exercises and some individuals.
Is functional training suitable for everyone?
As a personal trainer in Abu Dhabi with functional training experience can your techniques be applied to anyone and any age group?
There are principles (mobility and stability, tension and relaxation and so on) on which meaningful functional processes are based.
These are basic principles of movement that are foundations that support any viable training process. So, it can be applicable to anyone accordingly.
How does functional training in Abu Dhabi help with general fitness?
In your experience, can you sum up why functional training is important and how it can help with ‘general fitness’
Here are some major benefits of functional training, strengthen not only our bodies but also our philosophy that functional training can be right for everyone.
Our bodies are designed to move, not to sit slumped over a computer all day. The less you move, the less blood sugar your body uses. Functional training focuses on training movement patterns rather than isolating individual muscles. If you spend most of your working day sat down in the office, sitting on the chest press machine at the gym is probably counterproductive.
Functional training can help to correct bad posture and muscular imbalances caused by the daily grind, stressful jobs and hectic lifestyles.
Functional training provides fantastic fat burning workouts, by using full body exercises that improve strength, endurance and boost metabolism, not wasting a minute of your session.
It develops strong, lean bodies.
Every session includes flexibility, mobility, core stability, balance and strength training principles to keep your body constantly challenged in all areas of a strong, healthy and vibrant body.
Functional training provides essential training for sport specific conditioning. Enhancing the relationship between the nervous and musculoskeletal system, providing quick, reactive, and powerful movement patterns – whether your chosen sport is golf, rugby or MMA.
In functional training every exercise involves core activation, teaching the core to stabilize the spine against external force, throughout an array of differing movement patterns and body positions.
Therefore, mimicking the demand placed upon the core and spine in our everyday tasks and recreational activities. Crunches alone, unfortunately just don’t cut it!