Paige & Josie enjoying a walk through the gardens of Lakes Park in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II (Paige & Josie's dad)
Back in the 1960s, Universal and Nautilus built and marketed resistance-training machines for both gyms and home use.
These companies claimed their machines provided superior training results due to their design and ability to isolate muscle groups.
This movement towards muscle isolation created the gym based model of training, which many people use today.
This training model has grown to become very popular and is universally synonymous with weight training.
However, this model falls short for athletes looking to improve performance parameters and for individuals looking for better function with daily living activities.
For example, bodybuilders might look good, but that does not mean that they are necessarily fit or especially strong outside a given movement.
For example, I know many bodybuilders who cannot touch their toes.
This lack of flexibility lends itself directly to subpar performance of daily living activities like bending down to tie your shoe laces.
Lately, there has been a resurgence towards a more rounded approach to physical conditioning and the term, “functional training”.
Functional training is not a new concept; it has been around since the beginning of exercise and training.
The main distinction between functional training and traditional gym based weight training is that functional training trains movements, rather than isolated muscles.
Functional training is based on the concept of specificity, meaning you train the specific movements you want to improve.
For example, if you train complex movements (think multiple movements through more than 1 plane of motion), you get better at moving.
If you train one muscle, that one muscle gets bigger.
In simple terms, if you want to get better and stronger at a certain activity, you need to train that activity, or at least parts of that activity. For example, using a rowing machine to train for a 26.2-mile run would not yield the best results.
The primary training for running is running. Just as the primary training for tennis is playing tennis. This may seem like a simplification, but it accurately sums up the concept of functional training.
Functional training, although it has been around for decades, is viewed as a new training method in the fitness and sports industry.
It has become popular mainly due to its focus on training movements, not muscles.
Whether you're playing sports, working your golf swing, carrying your kids up the stairs or doing a grocery run, functional training more closely mimics the movements you’re trying to improve.
This kind of movement-based training provides numerous benefits, both in terms of performance and overall fitness.
BENEFITS of FUNCTIONAL TRAINING:
Functional training is safe, effective and fun - it’s like having a playground for a workout.
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