Functional Training is a buzzword in the fitness industry at the moment.
Bodies are designed to run, jump, squat down, stand up again, bend over, reach up. These are functional moves. And we try and use many of them in classes & PT sessions, to keep these movements strong & flexible, to help you in life.
In everyday life most of us only do 1 sit up a day - when we get out of bed. This is why it’s more useful to train deep core muscles as you move, rather than spend hours doing shallow sit-ups. However, if you want a six-pack, as long as you’ve lost weight and stripped down fat, a few sit-ups at the end of a session can help with definition.
This isn’t to say you should only do moves in the gym that you do outside of it. Cross training is really important to avoid injury & use stabilising muscles. Also, a workout would get a bit boring if you only did one set of moves.
No one does a grapevine in real life apart from, perhaps a footballer trying to dodge around an opponent. But it’s great fun in a dance or aerobics class - mainly as you watch to see if I’ll fall over! It also works adductor & abductors - inner & outer thighs - essential to stabilise you if you run.
Some moves are sports specific & you need to practice them to get better - eg a tennis or golf swing can be improved with the cable machine or resistance bands. If you’re a runner, the stretches we do at the end of classes can help prevent injury too.
Functional training is often used by Physios in rehab. One of the most common problems today is the amount of time we spend sitting in front of computers for our work. This gives us tight hamstrings, hip flexors, neck & shoulder muscles. In classes we try & stretch out chests & loosen shoulder joints with our moves. We kick to stretch hamstrings & lunge to work hip flexors.
I believe it’s important to know WHY we do things in class or PT sessions - to help motivate us & clarify efficient ways of moving.
If you want to know more, or find a move difficult & need alternatives, please ask me or another teacher to explain, or show you how to make it work for you.