Incorporating Functional Fitness into Everyday Life

Modern fitness includes many different workout styles and exercise modes. Interval training and circuit training are the most popular sports techniques. Recently, functional fitness workouts have become especially in demand.

Functional Training Essence

Functional training is a relatively new sports mode based on practicing basic actions people perform daily. This new direction emerged because athletes (especially in narrow specializations like bodybuilding and powerlifting) cannot always apply their sports achievements in practice – in everyday life.

Functional training founders believe developing the indicators useful for people in everyday life is crucial. For example, agility, endurance, strength, and movement coordination.

Exercises included in the functional training system can work out not only large muscles but also many small muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Stabilizer muscles, which do not work during classic strength programs, are especially thoroughly involved in such activities.

The Benefits of Functional Fitness Training

The benefits and effectiveness of functional training are hard to overestimate. 

This effective direction simultaneously helps:

  • develop attractive muscle definition;
  • develop important sports indicators
  • engage inactive muscles;
  • strengthen the immune system by activating metabolic processes;
  • improve overall blood circulation and lymph flow in soft tissues;
  • prevent various diseases of the vessels, joints, respiratory and cardiovascular systems;
  • expand the athlete’s horizons through the use of various equipment in exercises;
  • strengthen the skeletal system;
  • relieve tension from muscles and nerve endings.

Functional Training for Weight Loss

Weight loss is one of the main goals of athletes who engage in functional fitness training. This training really helps to lose excess weight as intensively as possible. In addition to strength loads, functional training also includes cardio exercises. This is one of the advantages of the functional mode: a person not only loses weight but also tones sagging skin after changing volumes.

Since all training sessions are conducted at a dynamic and very fast pace, a huge number of calories are burned. The optimal duration of a workout for effective weight loss is from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the athlete’s fitness level and the chosen set of exercises.

Features of Functional Training

The essence of the functional mode can be expressed in the following aspects:

  1. All physical loads are performed either in a standing position or with an emphasis on the hands.
  2. During the execution of the complex, powerful strength training equipment is not used: only cardio or free weights.
  3. Isolating physical loads are not included in the training. The basis of functional fitness training is multicomponent basic loads that develop a large range of muscles simultaneously.
  4. All loads are performed at the maximum accelerated pace, which makes functional training similar to interval training.
  5. Despite the fact that all physical loads actively involve muscles, functional training is aimed at developing actions and movements, and not at increasing mass or working out the appearance.
  6. Joints, ligaments, and tendons work to a minimum in this sports mode: the load on them is gentle and lightweight.

Functional Training Exercises

Functional training exercises are built on four main groups:

  • 1. Loads with additional weights. The weight of the equipment is moderate, but all movements are performed in a sharply explosive style (various variations of squats, lifting weights, pulling, jerks, pushes).
  • 2. Physical loads with your own weight (variations of squats without weights, push-ups, planks, pull-ups, twists).
  • 3. Fitness training at various distances (running, rowing, swimming, cycling, dynamic walking).
  • 4. Loads with rare or specific equipment (loops, elastic expanders, BOSU half-sphere, gymnastic balls, body bars, cables).

All functional training is carried out either in a standing position, or with an emphasis on the hands, or with an active change of position in space. For example, to turn a regular dumbbell press while sitting into a functional exercise, you need to move from a sitting position to a straight stance. Also, the physical load will grow into a functional one if you increase the number of repetitions, increase the pace of execution, and at the same time reduce the weight of the equipment (for example, a barbell or kettlebell).

Interval and Functional Training – What’s the Difference?

The two specified areas of fitness training are related, but, nevertheless, have a significant difference.

The main goals of the interval mode are fat burning and the development of endurance (aerobic, speed). Strength loads can be used in this mode, but the programs are built mainly based on aerobic ones.

Functional classes set their task to have a general strengthening effect on the body and comprehensively develop sports qualities. Strength loads in this mode are evenly combined with cardio exercises, but the programs include more anaerobic actions than cardio.

Basic Functional Fitness Training Program

The basic functional training program will help develop important sports characteristics, tone muscles, and practice the technique of basic movements. For the effectiveness of the exercises, perform a warm-up before training and a cool-down stretch at the end.

Take a break of up to 10-15 seconds between exercises to restore breathing. Rest between sets for 60 seconds.

Set №1

  • 1. Lunges with a torso twist (15 reps).
  • 2. Bench push-ups (8 reps).
  • 3. Walking in a basic plank (10 reps).
  • 4. Leg swings back while standing (12 reps).
  • 5. Elbow to knee touch in a standard plank (15 reps).
  • 6. Burpees with a jump (15 reps).

Set №2

  • 1. Side lunges (15 reps).
  • 2. Wall push-ups (15 reps).
  • 3. Deadlift with kettlebells (12 reps).
  • 4. Basic squats (12 reps).
  • 5. Leg raise in a side plank (12 reps).
  • 6. Alternating leg raises while standing (20 reps).

Set №3

  • 1. Reverse push-ups (15 reps).
  • 2. Leg swings forward (15 reps).
  • 3. Knee-to-chest pull in a basic plank (15 reps).
  • 4. Reverse lunges with high knee raises (12 reps).
  • 5. High jumps (20 reps).
  • 6. Running in place with high knees (25 reps).

Functional training is one of the most comfortable ways to achieve a beautiful body and effectively develop sports performance that will be useful in everyday life.

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