By Jeff Ford
Head Coach – PSE PRO Tri
The term functional fitness has been subjected to a beating of misuse by fitness enthusiasts.
Sadly even most trainers may not fully understand the concept or utilize it correctly.
Most of us would say that functional fitness is anything that relates to daily living activities. However, that definition could include practically every exercise.
Are you truly training what you think you are? Are your optimizing the training you’re putting so much time and effort into? If you think you can merely swim, bike and run your way to better fitness you’re kidding yourself.
Endurance athletes are amongst the worst when it comes to functional fitness training that’s missing the mark. Throw in a few planks and lunges and that’s functional fitness. Oftentimes these sessions are not treated as part of the overall training plan, but are thrown in and used as a side project or slotted in randomly around your sport training.
A functional movement is one that is compound, found in nature, and scalable. You not only have to prioritize the position of each movement but place these movements into different sequences to challenge the body.
Here are four reasons why functional fitness changes the game.
RANGE OF MOTION
When you move your body through full ranges of motion your mobility magically improves. The world you live in today decreases your range of motion. There’s an overall reduction in all of your joint areas due to sedentary lifestyles. Functional training leads to larger range of motion improvements than any stretching could ever supply.
Whether it’s an athlete who adds functional training or the everyday person, positive changes in joint mechanics happen. It’s one thing for someone to have range of motion, it’s another to know how to effectively use that range of motion. By adding functional fitness your body learns to stabilize through ranges of motion and move in the manner it was supposed to.
People not practicing functional training plateau. You can only make so many strength improvements without it. Think about the individual who performs kneeling push-ups, how long do you think it takes that person to get to a real push-up? The answer is forever. By performing fewer repetitions in a functional and correct manner you get strong.
Functional fitness allows a for a reduction in injuries. When it’s implemented into the routine you will be less banged up from performing your sport or from life. You will become less fearful of simple tasks like bending over and will have confidence in getting down and up from the ground. An action many of us take for granted.
Despite the chronic overuse of #functionalfitness, it’s training that must be part of your plan. This is actually one of those scenarios where you should indeed follow the crowd. Yes, these movements mimic daily life and yes they do wonders for the body. But, unless you truly understand what functional fitness is and how to implement it, it’s very easy to miss the point.
All of the PSE PRO training programs utilize functional fitness at their very foundation. This complements your sport training and performance while ensuring you stay healthy and play the long game.