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Fact checked by Kirsten Yovino, CPT Brookbush InstituteFACT CHECKED
April 11, 2018
Do you consider yourself an athlete? If you do any kind of physical training then you should!
You may not be a professional athlete, but you are an athlete.
All humans are athletic by nature. It’s our native duty to be able to move fast with agility, and be powerful and explosive through a wide range of motion.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of today’s society, most people stop learning and practicing new physical skills sometime in early childhood.
You learned how to crawl, then walk, then run and jump…then you stopped, and sat.
As humans, we must keep functioning at the highest level possible, and one way to do that is through functional training…
We hear so much about functional training these days. Is it a fad? A buzz word?
NO, actually it’s the real deal.
Functional training aims to adapt or develop exercises that allow people to perform the activities of daily life (including weightlifting and sports) more easily and without injuries. Functional training will help you to improve mobility, flexibility, stamina, balance, stability and functional strength.
Functional strength is the ability to run your load-joints (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles) through a full range of motion without pain, stiffness, or restriction.
In today’s cushy environment, we get stuck in our simple, same, daily routines. Doing the same motions over and over. We are not spontaneously stimulated by our environment as our ancestors once were.
We need to find ways to change our environment and daily routines in order to keep our body structure confused, a.k.a. active and healthy. We need to do natural, native movements throughout the day – running, walking, climbing, etc.
If we don’t, our older selves will reminisce about how nice it was to function optimally. Because as you age, the next thing you know your sprint will have turned to a fast walk, your fast walk to a regular walk, your regular walk to a painfully slow walk, to a walker, to a…you get the point...
The following statement is serious - You CAN prolong the inevitable.
You can’t actually stop getting older, but you can keep yourself fit for A LONG TIME. Take care of your body throughout your life like you would your home or vehicle. Maintain it!
Functional training focuses on compound exercises and movements that directly improve your longevity and performance for real-life situations (i.e. playing with your kids, sports, work).
Functional training exercises will make you bigger, stronger, faster, and healthier. They'll improve your sex life and your work life. They'll help you function better in every aspect of your physical life, and that's truly what ‘functional’ means.
Functional strength training consists of a wide variety of exercises, such as:
MAKE SURE YOU GO HEAVY TOO
You want strength? Then you must lift strong! If you aren't working hard and lifting heavy, then you aren't going to change.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for high rep work! Do your research and test your body.
For those who are only working out at the gym, remember, it’s not all about the “big lifts” when it comes to training. Get outside of the gym sometimes too. Get out on the trail, your backyard, a mountain, whatever. Do things that you did as a kid - Play on the rings and monkey bars at the playground. Do things that your ancestors did to survive (hike, hunt, run in nature). RUN. Practice handstands; bear crawls, ape walks, frog jumps, basically anything natural...native movements, even if these exercises seem unnatural - that’s only because we’ve become so stiff as people. Enhance your mind and your body’s response to this type of movement.
Sit less and get out of your comfort zone.
Moving functionally is truly being human. It’s not so much about the type of training you are doing, it’s more about your mentality and goals, that way you know you are working towards an outcome that improves life.
We were made to be functional, let’s not lose that.
Start doing these 4 types of exercises to enhance the innate human in you.
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