What is Functional Strength Training?
Functional Strength Training involves exercise techniques that mimic movements performed in everyday life, outdoor activities, or in a sport. This training technique involves the use of numerous tools to build the movement patterns such as: Kettle Bells, Viprs, TRX, Barbell, Dumbbell, Sandbags, Sleds, Ropes, Medicine Balls.
Benefits of Functional Training include:
- Improves the ability to do all exercises
- Rapid Weight Loss
- Core Development
- Improvement in Lean Muscle Mass
Functional Strength Training is fully scalable; meaning both professional athletes and completely de-conditioned adults can perform these training movements under the correct guidance and instruction.
This style of training improves the nervous system by training the brain how to actuate, control, and as needed isolate muscles. Functional Strength Training athletes are keenly aware of their muscle contraction sequence especially along the posterior chain. Since Functional strength training develops the muscles to work in a sequence used in real life, functional training is useful for real life activities.
Functional Strength Training Categories
Movements: Squats, Pushes, Pulls, Swings, Twists, Jumps, Lunges
Improvement: Balance, Endurance, Strength, Range of Motion, Flexibility, Resilience, and Metabolic Conditioning.
In just these movements, there are literally thousands of individual exercises including: Dumbell Curls, Overhead Carry, Situps; and even complex moves such as Ring Muscle-Ups, Barbell Snatches, and Handstands.
A lot of the programming that goes into a successful fitness program is the chaining of movement together with careful analysis of the rest period, repetitions, complexity, and sequence.
Since the large machines take up most of the the Big Commercial gyms do most of the stabilizing work for us, they are much less useful for mimicking real life movements. These machines do have value for strengthening a damaged muscle or tendon through isolation. However, a skilled trainer can perform the same feat with careful selection and control of the movement.
Why aren’t there more Functional Strength Training gyms in Alexandria?
It takes a lot of training to develop coaches that can properly train athletes without relying on machines. More than that, the companies that make these machines (Cybex, Tuff Stuff, Matric, etc) have invested billions of dollars into the bulky equipment industry are very effective and convincing club owners of the need for this equipment. Plus, these machines maximize dollars per square foot, have low risk of injury (It’s hard to do the movement incorrectly), and require little thinking on the part of the client or the trainer. But for all their ingenuity the bulky machine movement will always have four flaws:
- Big box machines do not develop the neuro-kinetic pathways for real life movements
- Big Box machines do not develop balance or stability
- Big Box machines are really difficult to work into a cooperative or group atmosphere
- Big Box machines are inherently boring to use
There is a reason we compare boring things to “running on a treadmill.” And while, companies like Matrix have plowed forward in building truly impressive user interfaces with fancy screen, built in tv, music videos, and even mimicking trails, they are all built for one purpose…to distract you from realizing how boring running on this treadmill is. Freedom from gym boredom is what Functional Strength Training is all about.