7 Reasons to Include Functional Training in Your Gym
In recent years, functional training has not stopped gaining supporters to the detriment of the traditional strength training that exists in your gym. It is a highly recommended activity for fans of any kind of fitness program, especially for those whose sole purpose is to take care of their health or participate in elite competitions. And one of the main strengths of this type of training is that it can adapt to anyone regardless of their goal or their physical form.
It emerged as a rehabilitation mechanism for people who had suffered certain injuries and needed to recover the mobility they had lost, thus accelerating the process to return to normalcy both at the workplace and in personal life.
Currently, there are many personal trainers and sports clubs that have adapted this modality as a training concept, coinciding with the rise of new activities and disciplines in recent years, such as CrossFit. It is ideal for those looking for new styles and ways to train beyond traditional methods, which makes it ideal for new boutique gyms.
What is functional training?
Functional training is those physical activities that, based on certain exercises and materials, carry out a specific workout method along with movement patterns that can be extrapolated so that they have a place within our daily life. This is precisely what differentiates it from other forms of exercise. Therefore, it is called functional, because techniques, movements or characteristics are acquired that we can then carry out at our work or social life.
It is a way of working the body where all muscle groups are involved, just as they are activated in a certain sport or day to day activity. It is not about putting stress or effort on a single muscle, but on all of them, and this is precisely one of its greatest advantages.
But in addition, this type of discipline also affects the stabilizing muscles, especially in the core, and in the sense of Kinesthesis, which allows increased control over the body itself. It seeks to perform exercises that require activating the stabilizing muscles to emphasize the muscles of the abdominal rectum, hip, and shoulders.
Benefits of functional training
Functional training provides multiple benefits to people who practice it, which makes it one of the best gym activities to get fit in a healthy and balanced way. Its main objective is to achieve an adaptation to improve our daily life through exercises similar to the movements to which we are accustomed to performing daily. The improved coordination, endurance, agility, power, flexibility and toning and weight loss are just some of the benefits of functional training.
It allows gaining strength without developing excess muscle mass.
If what we want is to compete in a marathon or in a triathlon, it will be of little use to spend the day lifting weights on the machine. Gaining maximum strength in the lifting of deadlifts is totally commendable, but it has little practical application in the daily life of most people since we are rarely going to work with such an amount of weight on any given day.
Functional training complies with the principle of specificity since it works on those areas in which the body will then be activated. Thanks to this, we gain strength and power, especially in the main muscles that will be involved in the performance of the sport. But this does not mean that we will develop excessive muscle mass since weight lifting is usually light.
There is no risk of injury
In functional training, unnatural postures for the body are not carried out and no excessive weights are used, which considerably reduces the risks of suffering an injury. In addition, the strengthening process also protects the bones.
Accessible for anyone
Functional training adapts the needs of any person, from elite athletes to people who simply want to tone their muscles. The exercises change depending on the sport that is practiced or the results that you want to achieve.
When recreating movements of the sport that is practiced, training can focus in many different ways. And it is not the same functional training that a cyclist should do than someone who does not practice any particular sport. While the cyclist will emulate impulse movements in the race, the second will work more generically.
Of course, in the case of children and the elderly, who constitute the population at greatest risk, it is absolutely essential that the instructor is always pending to supervise the correct execution of the movements or even assist as a margin of help or safety.
In the functional training certain positions are carried out, most pose a challenge of instability and require a constant work of adaptation of the joints and of the musculature to different imbalances. Thanks to this, proprioception is worked. A capacity possessed by ligaments, muscles, and joints to adapt to gross or unstable changes without suffering injuries.
It can be done anywhere
Although these types of exercises are usually performed inside a gym, the truth is that functional training sessions can also be carried out outdoors. For example, exercises with one\'s own body weight, such as push-ups or jumps, can be done in any environment where we have an elevated platform or even a low-rise fence.
The options are varied, as many as our mind is able to devise. Therefore, if you have the possibility, do not miss the opportunity to plan outdoor workouts, since the sensations are completely different from those of being inside the club.
It promotes weight loss
In a functional training session, you can lose between 350 and 450 calories, but it depends a lot on the person and the difficulty of the exercises. In any case, what is sought is not the loss of weight itself, but physically improve to raise our physical qualities to a higher level through the toning of all muscles.
It can be practiced every day
Functional training can be practiced every day, but also combined with cardio classes or after a weight session. And, although it is a class that tires, does not limit or prevent practicing other classes or sports. In addition, the possibilities are so varied that it is very difficult to fall into monotony. You can practice thousands of exercises and play a little with the imagination and with all the possible tools apart from our body, from the TRX to the surfboard, through the 'Bosu ball', the dumbbells or the kettlebells.
Types of functional training
Functional training is carried out through harmonious compound movements, with cadences and with a selection of workloads that increase the heart rate.
Each functional training session is full of dynamic elements, such as jump ropes, up and down steps, unstable surfaces, bag flips and exercises with body weight, such as squats, push-ups, scissors, use of elastic bands, unilateral movements, abdomen exercises, rope pulls, resistance elements such as vests with ballast, etc.
All this within a great variety of combinations that adapt to the level of each person based on the criteria of the instructor, the most common being the following:
Rope training: In this type of exercise ropes of several meters in length are used, with a diameter that varies between 6 and 8 centimeters. It takes advantage of the force of gravity and that generated by the wave of the rope itself, thus involving a large muscle mass to counteract them, especially that of the abdomen area.
Training with weights or kettlebells: The famous kettlebells are used as an excellent alternative to dumbbells. Most of the exercises that can be performed with them are extrapolated to Kettlebells, but due to the position and shape of the grip, the weight is unbalanced, which forces us to balance it with the strength of our stabilizing muscles.
Circuit training: This modality aims to combine an exercise with a certain duration and with a small pause between them. The purpose is to promote cardiovascular work together with the benefits of each of the exercises. Thanks to this, important effects are achieved at the metabolic level.
Suspension or TRX training: This combination of exercises allows us to train all muscle groups, which would be complicated without the support of the bands. The force of gravity and the body itself is used as resistive elements, which constantly displaces our center of gravity, on which the stabilizing muscles perform their work.
Plyometrics or Jumping Training: It consists of performing jumps on a drawer or other elevated platform or jumping some level. An exercise that allows us to use the maximum force in each jump, increasing the intensity based on the height of the obstacle that we have to jump over.