Functional fitness differs slightly from traditional studio workouts, as it is meant to train all of the muscles in your body to work in unison, rather than independently. Instead of focusing solely on mastering equipment like the weight bench and the elliptical, the purpose is to prepare your body for activities carried out in day-to-day life, such as picking up heavy boxes and groceries, working in the garden and around the house, and even playing with your children and grandchildren.
This refocusing on everyday activities makes functional fitness Ideal for older individuals.
Functional fitness exercises tend to focus on the body’s three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal, and traverse – each of which involve the forward, backward, side to side, rotating, and twisting motions that tend to occur at the joints.
The following three workouts cover several potential problem areas, and provide a great way to kick off a functional fitness regimen:
- Deadlift: Perhaps one of the most beneficial functional fitness moves, the deadlift mirrors the motion of the hips when we bend over to retrieve something from the floor. Deadlifts are phenomenal exercises to reinforce mobility, balance, and strength. And although they sound like one of the more questionable workouts as far as injuries are concerned, the deadlift actually engages all muscle groups in upper and lower body – from your arms to your hamstrings. Of course, proper form and execution is essential. So be sure to follow your trainer’s explicit instructions.
- Squats: We sit down and stand up multiple times per day. Squats are an incredibly beneficial compound exercise. Engaging multiple joints, they help to strengthen our hips, knees, and ankles. Form is imperative, and beginners are urged to start using simply their body weight, before gradually adding resistance with free weights, etc.
- Woodchoppers: Timber! The importance of body rotation is so often overlooked during workout sessions. But consider this: how many times have you turned in your chair to grab something instinctively, and felt that telltale snap of your shoulders or lower back? Rotation resistance exercises – like the wood chopper – are the key to preventing such frustrating, and occasionally long-lasting injuries. Used in conjunction with a cable rack and a single cable, woodchoppers are phenomenal for strengthening your core. They provide a complete workout for abdominal muscles, as well as the shoulders and back. Such functional fitness exercise can help facilitate and increase the mobility of your middle spine.
Fitness Together Ellicott City is committed to helping our trainees prevent injury while pursuing true results. Our certified trainers can help you develop a functional fitness regimen that can make day-to-day activities more enjoyable and pain-free. Call us today at 410-750-2228 to learn more.