Often people come to me and ask questions about ‘Functional Training’. It seems like those 2 words are very fashionable the last few years. Functional Training is great because when done properly, it helps you:
– Prepare for everyday activities
– Avoid injuries doing everyday activities
– Improve balance and joint stability
– Improve range of motion
Functional Training has many more benefits and is essential to good health and performance. However we need to be careful not to get stuck with these 2 words in our head and instead open our mind to other things. That’s why, instead of praising Functional Training, I prefer talking about variety!
Fitness and training has taken huge leaps in the last decades and we have learned so much. People used to work out on standard resistance machine with single plane motions and even though these are relatively safe, they also have a lot of drawbacks. Others perhaps did bodybuilding or just some morning walks.
Now that we know so much more about training, it has also become more complicated for the average person to figure out which workout is best. One person probably woke up one day and though about a concept called Functional Training. It’s a great way to market the product and makes people understand what the goal is.
Functional training is great but I believe variety is more important. Depending on your goals, mix things up. Nowadays, so many workout classes and equipment (TRX, kettle bell and even some machines) already give you such a great workout with multi plane motions and work the stabilizing muscles that you don’t have to worry so much about what’s functional and what’s not. Simply switch things up and do some hiking, some TRX classes, Cross Training classes, Kettle Bell workouts and yes, weight lifting and other types of resistance training.
If you put a lot of variety in your workout, you don’t have to worry about throwing some single plane and isolation exercises in. Too many people are too focussed on ‘Functional Training’, which causes them to miss out on so much more.
I personally do TRX, kettle bell, body weight exercises, MMA, traditional and olympic weight lifting and I feel like my body is very prepared for everyday activities plus my injury rate is extremely low, especially if you consider all the activities I do on an everyday basis.
So don’t get hung up on 2 words that’s used for marketing purposes. Instead, try new things, do different classes and switch it up! As long as you work out responsibly and give your body the time to adjust, you will be happy you did!
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.