What Is Functional Training?

Functional training can serve a variety of purposes such as rehabilitation, bodybuilding or improving endurance. Even though most people associate functional training as a type of training that works mostly with rehabilitation, it can also be applied to general fitness programs.

When functional training is used in a rehabilitation setting, it typically consists of low intensity and light weight exercises mimicking everyday movements. This is done in order to train the injured part of the body to gain the necessary strength to perform these movements regularly. Physical therapist use functional training when athletes or people are injured and a movement disorder is created. The basis of functional training is a focus on movement, not isolated muscles. For example; a physical therapist may instruct someone with a wrist injury to continue to lift their wrist up and down for 10 minutes in order to build flexibility in the wrist.

Functional training also can be utilized in a general fitness program. There are many methods that can be used to help enhance everyday movement. By building core and lower back muscles, the entire body can build strength in addition to flexibility. Certain types of exercises may use a sandbag, kettle bell or battle ropes to train the body as a unit instead of training individual muscles. These exercises are more compound exercises (using multiple body parts) and burn more calories. They also allow other muscles to be focused on simultaneously.

Sometimes functional training can involve both methods used by general fitness practitioners and physical therapist. In intense therapy, weight bearing activity is used to rebuild lost muscle in order to perform routine activities as well as gaining balance. Functional training corrects muscle imbalances and joint stability. The benefit of this is a stronger body that is better protected and prevents injuries. Additionally, routine exercises are completed in order to gain the necessary flexibility and to get the muscle accustom to daily use.

Functional training has become popular due to the concept of specificity. In order to improve the performance of a specific action, that action must be practiced over and over. Breaking that action down into a few steps and rehearsing those movements is the essence of functional training.

Some claim functional training is better than strength training due to specific results that the user desires. A user will be more satisfied with a workout routine that allows them to jump higher as opposed to a workout that gives them slightly increases overall strength.

A workout routine for functional training can be more enjoyable than that over a strength training routine. Workouts with medicine balls, stability balls and bodyweight exercises creates a type of competition where more people are actively involved and truly get the feeling of burning calories and getting fit. Exercises such as running in place, football stances and push- ups, all put the participant in positions they are normally accustom to or will strengthen the related muscles. The workouts are also safe and effective and can be applied to all fitness levels. This is the fastest way to see results from a workout routine, whether it’s losing weight, gaining endurance, or simply maintaining a toned shape.

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