Trends in the world of fitness are constantly changing as new studies reveal how to develop maximum strength and flexibility in the shortest period of time. Recently a type of exercise training that has garnered attention in fitness circles is functional training, a form of workout which concentrates on the use of functional exercises.
What are functional exercises?
Functional exercises are ones that incorporate a variety of movements and muscles into a single exercise. With functional training, instead of building strength on a series of static machines, you would perform a series of exercises using a variety of muscles at the same time. These moves would be designed to imitate many of the moves you make on a daily basis. For example, instead of doing bicep curls while seated on a bench, you might do them while performing lunges on the floor. Instead of strictly focusing on building the strength of the biceps, you’re strengthening and toning a group of muscles while performing movements similar to ones you perform on a daily basis, such as squatting down to lift something off the floor.
What are the advantages of performing functional exercises?
When you do functional training, not only are you building strength and toning the muscles, you’re also increasing your ability to perform everyday movements such as lifting a baby, shoveling snow, or reaching up to retrieve something from a high shelf. Workouts that use functional exercises are also more efficient since you’re working for more than one muscle group at a time. You’re also burning more calories than with static resistance training since you’re working both upper and lower body at the same time.
Another advantage to functional training is that you need very little equipment. Some dumbbells or resistance bands and a mat are all that’s necessary for a successful workout. It’s also a good workout choice if you’re time-strapped. Since you’re working for multiple muscle groups with a single exercise, your workout sessions can be shorter.
How can you get started with functional exercises?
Your local health club or YMCA may offer classes in functional training. If not, there are a variety of DVD’s you can use at home. It’s an ideal workout for home use since little equipment or space is needed. Although functional exercises provide good muscle toning workout and are excellent for building coordination, flexibility, and balance, you’ll still want to add aerobic exercise on alternate days for additional cardiovascular benefits.
If you want more out of your current workout, give functional exercises a try. They’re effective and a nice way to add variety to your fitness routine.