The Benefits of Functional Training
Bend over and touch your toes. Not much of a workout, right?
Now bend over and touch your toes with one leg extended in the air and repeat 10 times. You just performed a functional exercise.
In recent years, we've seen a shift in the fitness industry toward training that's more functional -- exercises based on activities you perform in your daily activities -- to build your core muscles. While weight machines targeting specific muscle groups help improve strength, fitness professionals realized that they weren't addressing the movements people do at home, work or in sports.
"We are seeing more and more of our i.d. members applying functional training techniques into their workouts," Brent Holten says. "With so many different training styles and self-proclaimed miracle workouts, its sometimes hard to figure out which style is best for you, but we see functional training as a workout strategy that benefits nearly everyone."
Functional exercises tend to be multi-joint, multi-muscle exercises. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life.
For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains your legs, glutes and abs -- the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair.
function junction: multi-directional lunges
Multi-directional lunges work multiple muscles in your lower body -- the adductors in your inner thighs, the abductors in the outer thighs and your glutes -- you know where they are! These lunges also will help you build balance and core stability. Read on.
functional training: group-fitness style!
You may already perform functional training exercises without even knowing it! If you take some of i.d.'s awesome group-fitness classes, you're incorporating functional exercises into your workouts. Read on.