This post focusses in on "Functional Training"
and includes a full body workout of that nature.
Including functional exercises in your fitness routine will improve strength, endurance, power, balance and flexibility
. Functional training is an industry buzz-phrase that’s thrown around a lot, but which put simply, means ‘exercises that mimic everyday human movements’ (unlike for example, some stationary machines you’ll find at the gym). It involves body weight exercises that teach the body to handle it's own weight
, emphasising multi-joint movements instead of isolating a specific muscle. These multi-joint movements then, in turn, strengthen the core muscles (hips, back, and abs) and improve 'body awareness', posture and balance
by stabilising the musculoskeletal systems. Also, improving the development of muscular balance can help prevent injury to the more fragile parts of the body
, as I've discussed in previous posts. Another benefit of functional training is that if you're looking to lose weight, more of your existing muscle mass is employed when performing these functional exercises, which promotes quicker calorie burn, more weight loss, and therefore improves body composition. Simples!
Functional training yields similar results as traditional bodybuilding - it increases strength, builds, sculpts & tones the body. The main difference is that functional training doesn't aim for maximal power. Instead it emulates the movements we make in normal activities (think: squatting to pick something of the floor, reaching, climbing etc). It teaches the body to move on multiple planes (rotationally, up and down, front, back and side to side). However, aside from performing pure body weight exercises in the routine below, I've included a swiss ball for added balance and a medicine ball for some extra resistance. It's a tough 6-point workout that, if done with enough intensity, will have you aching (in a good way) the next day! Here it is :)
1) Single leg swiss ball lunge with medicine ball twist (as below pics)
1. Bend one leg and place it on the swiss ball - the ankle should be resting on the ball.
2. Position the other leg in-line, in front of the ball as far away from the ball as you can without losing balance.
3. Slowly lower yourself by bending your front knee until your thigh is parallel with the floor and your back leg is extended straight across the ball.
4. Maintain a straight back and lean forward slightly from the hips.
5. Make sure the knee doesn't move ahead of the toes on your front foot, as this places too much pressure on the knee.
6. Slowly return to your starting position. Push all your weight through your heel, not the ball of your foot.
7. Do 12 reps on each leg.
2) SINGLE LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
1. With feet a hip-width apart raise your right foot off the floor and keep your right arm extended in front of you.
2. Bend forward from the hips and keep your back flat.
3. Raise your right leg straight behind you until your body forms a T and your right arm hangs down from your shoulder.
4. Return to start, slowly. That's one rep.
5. Repeat for 12 reps and then do the same on the other leg. Add a dumbbell for extra workload, as per the picture below.
3) PLANK WITH BOSU LEG-TAP
(as below pictures)
1. With tip-toes on the Bosu, and forearms resting on the ground in front of you (plank position), slowly bring one leg out to the side, and tap the toe to the floor.
2. Make sure to maintain a straight body
3. Return the leg to the centre, and repeat on the other side.
4. Perform this set a further 11 times.
(as per below sequence)
1. Stand up tall
2. Bend over and squat down.
3. Place both hands on the floor.
3. Then kick both legs back.
4. Landing on your toes maintain a straight body.
5. Jump back in under your body - returning feet to the original position.
6. Stand up and start all over again!
5) SPIDERMAN PRESS-UPS
(as below pictures)
1. Start in a normal push up positon.
2. Lower your body towards the floor and at the same time lift the right foot off the floor, swing your right leg out sideways, and try to touch your knee to your elbow.
3. Reverse the movement, then push your body back to the starting position.
4. Repeat, but on your next repetition, touch your left knee to your left elbow. Continue to alternate back and forth.
6) BOSU SQUAT (as below pics)
a) Standing with feet a shoulder-width apart, on the bosu, find your balance
b) Slowly and in a controlled manner, whilst holding a medicine ball out in two hands, squat down as deep as you can go, keeping the Bosu still
c) Stand back up, and throw the ball to your training partner (or against the wall)
d) Have someone throw it back to you (or catch it off the wall), and twist with the motion of the ball, to engage the obliques
e) Repeat motion 12 x.
7) MILITARY PRESS (as below pics)
a) Standing with feet a shoulder width apart, slowly pivot your torso forward & down, keeping your abs fully engaged, to as-close-to-90 degrees as you can...
b) Keep the head up, looking straight ahead
c) Slowly return to the upright position. Add a weighted bar if you can manage it, but be careful not to overload your back.
d) Repeat 12x.