What is Functional Fitness and Why You Should Care

Strength training generally refers to exercises that are designed to build muscle mass, such as weightlifting and bodybuilding. Functional fitness, on the other hand, focuses on exercises that help to improve the function of the body’s systems and muscles.

In other words, functional fitness is geared more towards maximizing the body’s ability to perform everyday tasks rather than simply increasing its size or strength. While both types of training have their benefits, functional fitness is often seen as being more beneficial for overall health and well-being.

What is Functional Fitness?

When it comes to fitness, there are many different approaches that people can take. Some people prefer to focus on strength training, while others focus on cardio or weight loss.

However, functional fitness is a type of exercise that can offer benefits for everyone. Unlike traditional methods that isolate individual muscle groups, functional fitness exercises focus on working the body as a whole.

This holistic approach can help to improve balance and coordination, as well as increase flexibility and range of motion. In addition, functional fitness exercises tend to be more natural and less strenuous than other types of exercise, making them ideal for people of all ages and abilities.

Whether you are just starting to get in shape or you are looking for a new way to stay fit, functional fitness is a great option.

Many of the movements involved in functional fitness are compound exercises, which means they work multiple muscle groups at the same time.

This type of training can help you develop strength, power, and endurance, which can make everyday activities such as carrying groceries, lifting something from the floor, or climbing stairs feel easier.

These exercises can also help reduce your risk of injury by improving your joint stability and range of motion.

Functional Fitness Benefits

  • Common daily tasks are easier.
  • Reduced injuries. You can avoid commonplace injuries by maintaining and enhancing your mobility, strength, and balance. Whole-body workouts not only reduce the likelihood of injury but also aid in correcting any imbalances in your muscles.
  • Helps improve and maintain balance. Most functional workouts focus on strengthening the abdominal and back muscles, which in turn enhances your stability and balance. Maintaining your stability and balance helps avoid tripping and falls.
  • Functional fitness exercises save time. The time spent exercising can be reduced dramatically in comparison to if you had to train each muscle group separately.
  • Better results in sports. The right functional workouts can help athletes reach their full potential, no matter what sport they play. A basketball player, for instance, might work on their agility and mobility by practicing lateral jumps.

How Functional Fitness Works

Because our bodies allow us to move in several different ways at the same time, functional training exercises typically involve completing compound motions, which require you to use several joints and muscles simultaneously.

Your daily movements include multiple joints and muscles working together. Training in this manner requires your body to work as a unified unit, just as it does in daily life.

Due to the simultaneous usage of many muscle groups, participants in functional training see gains in both coordination and neuromuscular control.

Like most other types of exercise, this type of training can help you burn calories and achieve weight loss if you pair it with a healthy diet.

Functional Training vs Traditional Strength Training

Traditional strength training, which isolates and works a single muscle part at a time, is the go-to method for a bodybuilder or anyone else looking to bulk up.

In a split training program, for instance, one day may be devoted to working on the back and biceps, the next day to the glutes and hamstrings, and so on.

Each functional training session is designed to be a full-body challenge. Due to the intense nature of a full-body workout like this, it is recommended that you space it out over many days rather than all in one go.

If your goal is to become more physically capable in all aspects of life, and if you want to do so in a way that is both efficient and enjoyable, functional training is the way to go.

Exercises for Functional Basic Training

It is recommended to do a vigorous warmup before any workout and a cooldown stretch afterward. When you’re body and muscles are sufficiently warm, start out with a couple of sets of 10 reps for each of the following moves.

Squats

Squats are great for adding the strength to make most everyday task less taxing. For instance, they are great for making it easier to get up and down from a chair.

Start out by standing straight with your feet directly under your hips and pointed forward. Now let your knees bend as you lower yourself towards a seated position.

Keep your feet firmly on the floor and don’t let your knees go out farther than your feet.

If you’re not quite strong enough to do squats comfortably and safely, try holding on to something like the back of a chair.

Deadlifts

Deadlifts are a great exercise for building strength. They can be performed with either a barbell or dumbbells, and they work many different muscles including the hamstrings, glutes, back, and shoulders.

Practicing deadlifts build body strength for doing things like moving something heavy, or picking something up from the floor.

To do a deadlift, start with your feet shoulder-width apart and a barbell or two dumbbells in front of you.

Bend your knees and hips to lower your body down, keeping your back straight. Once the weight is down to knee level, drive through your heels to stand back up.

Extend your hips and knees fully at the top of the movement. If using a barbell, return the weight to the ground by lowering it between your legs. If using dumbbells, return them to the starting position by reversing the motion.

Start with a weight that is challenging but manageable.

Overhead press

Overhead presses increase the strength you need to do things like lifting objects onto shelves, cabinets, or most anything that requires you to stand stable and firm while lifting up.

Overhead presses work by building upper body and core strength and stability.

The overhead press is a great way to work your shoulders, but it can be tough to get the hang of. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master the move.

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and a weight in each hand, palms facing forward.

From there, lift the weights up to shoulder level, keeping your elbows close to your body.

Next, press the weights straight overhead, extending your arms fully. Be sure to keep your core engaged throughout the movement.

Finally, lower the weights back down to shoulder level. With practice, you’ll get stronger and more comfortable with the overhead press.

One Arm Dumbbell Rows

One arm dumbbell rows will strengthen back muscles, which is important for almost all common activities. These exercises are great for building strength in your upper back and shoulders.

To do this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand.

Bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight, and row the dumbbell up to your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left arm.

Step ups

The step up is a great exercise for toning and strengthening your legs, buttocks and hips. It also works your core muscles, which are the muscles in your abdominal area.

The step up can be done with or without weights, but if you want to add some resistance, hold a weight in each hand.

To do the step up, stand in front of a box or a step. Place your left foot on the box or step, and then push off with your right foot to raise yourself up. As you do this, keep your core muscles engaged so that you don’t arch your back.

Step down with your right foot, and then return to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise with the other leg.

For an added challenge, try holding a weight in each hand as you do the step ups.

Conclusion

Functional training is a type of exercise that focuses on movements that are functional, or based on everyday activities. This can include activities like lifting, carrying, and climbing.

Functional training is often compared to traditional weightlifting, as both types of exercise can help to improve strength, power, and endurance.

However, functional training has the added benefit of being more closely related to the activities that we do in our everyday lives.

As a result, it can help to improve our overall fitness and reduce the risk of injuries.

In addition, functional training is often more enjoyable than traditional forms of exercise, as it can involve working out with friends or family members. By incorporating functional training into your workout routine, you can stay fit, healthy, and strong for everyday life!

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