Archive for November, 2013

Trainer Tip: Train smart, not hard

Monday, November 11th, 2013

The Benefits of Functional Training

by Joey Hacker, Personal Trainer

Joey Hacker, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, Ky.The human body is an effective vehicle that is built to help us do the necessary things we need to survive. It is created to help us with everyday activities, so why is it when we train ourselves or others we only train for how much we can push, pull, or move an object/weight? When looking at the human body we must first assess how to help it to move properly and strengthen it in those areas.

Every person, from the experienced training enthusiast to the most novice in the fitness world, needs a foundation. Functional training provides a baseline of physical fitness for the body. No matter what a person’s fitness goals may be, we must first prepare the body for movement in the gym and in the “real world.”

The term functional training refers to a method of training that prepares and strengthens your muscles for daily tasks by simulating common movements you may do at home, work, or extra-curricular activities (sports, hobbies, etc.). While incorporating a training program that requires the use of upper and lower body muscles at the same time, we also activate core stability. Core stability is key to our level of success, as it is the center base of gravity for our body. A happy core is a happy body.

There are several functional training exercises that prepare the body for everyday activities. Examples include:

  • Multidirectional lunges (vacuuming and yard work)
  • Squat to biceps curls (lifting a laundry basket or lifting a young child from the floor)
  • Step ups with weights (walking up stairs)
  • Medicine ball chop and lift (housework and cleaning)

The benefits of functional training are simple. It can make everyday activities much easier, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your quality of life. Are these three benefits more beneficial than how much weight you can move? That is the question every person needs to ask before deciding what their goals are on their own or with a fitness professional.