With such a wide array of exercises, workouts and programmes to take inspiration from, our training is now more varied and versatile than it ever has been. Mixing and switching up our routines is a great way to place new challenges in front us and consequently adapt and progress..but…there is a type of training that should be a constant staple for everyone; functional training.
Functional Training – It’s all in the name
Function = Purpose, Essentially, functional training is based on everyday movements which incorporate the engagement of multiple body parts, such as pushing and pulling objects. In addition to strengthening and toning up our bodies, this type of training is extremely effective at developing stability and mobility. Functional training incorporates “purpose movements” to create exercises which target various muscle groups through a single movement- making them excellent for getting the most of a workout! Due to the “functional purpose” nature of functional training exercises, they can prompt a great response from our bodies. For these reasons, functional training should be a must for all of us!
The Best Functional Training Exercises
With the foundational movements of many functional training exercises being based on everyday movements, a lot of them require nothing but bodyweight and the desire to exercise! Additionally, there are also many great functional exercises which can be practiced using equipment at the gym, at home, or wherever it is that you’re training.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective and beneficial functional training exercises which can help you to train multiple muscle groups simultaneously!
In addition to really engaging your core and requiring you maintain balance, squats do a great job in targeting the whole lower body. This dynamic strength-based exercise targets your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, abductor (groin), hip flexors and calves! Regarded as one of the most effective compound movements, squats should be a staple for all us. Try out different variations, from bodyweight squats, weighted squats and squat jumps which really engage your calves. Adding squats to your regime can do a great deal of good for your lower body and core progression.
A brilliant exercise which can done using a barbell, dumbbell, resistance bands or a machine is the renowned chest press. This exercise is undoubtedly one of the top exercises for working the chest and building upper body strength. This triple threat movement sets the activation of the chest, triceps and shoulders, allowing you to really work towards sculpting and shaping your upper body physique. The bodyweight version of this exercise is the classic push-up, which is also a push-based compound movement that targets the upper body!
For those of us who are relatively new to weight training, the term “deadlift” may sound pretty intimidating. However, the deadlift is actually a simple and easy to execute movement (unless you absolute load the barbell with weights that is!) involving pulling a barbell up from the ground to the level of the hips (with the torso perpendicular to the floor). If executed properly, the deadlift can be a real game-changer! On top of really engaging and working your core muscles, deadlifts activate the hamstrings, glutes, back, and traps..that’s a lot of muscle groups from one movement!
This exercise is thorough activator of the whole body! With the upper body muscles supporting the pulling motion and the core and lower body muscles aiding the maintenance of the stability and also the push motion needed to execute this movement, the rowing machine row is hidden gem if you’re looking to work multiple muscle groups throughout the entire body. The pulling motion predominantly stems from the activation of the back, biceps and forearms whilst a pushing movement is required with each repetition from the lower body. Alternatively, to mainly focus on the upper body (back, biceps and forearms), a weighted bent-over or seated row where the legs do not bend and straight can also be practiced!
Train Smart with Functional Training
Functional training has endless benefits; from enabling you to work multiple muscle groups to improving your balance and stability. The focus on correct form when looking to get the most out of functional training can also do a great deal of good for your posture which can consequently reduce the risk of injury and damage. Functional training is fantastic, and it’s something that we should all do to improve our overall fitness, strength and robustness!