Functional fitness is our ability to move correctly and perform daily needed activities without injury. It may not sound like a big deal, but functional fitness is the foundation of fitness in all its forms!
You wouldn’t build your home on a weak foundation, so why would you treat your body any different? Functional fitness prepares the body for more advanced forms of exercise. It is important that we first move well, then often.
[bctt tweet=”It is important that we first move well, then often.”]
A person’s ability to move well is a combination of strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and stability. If these components are not developed the result is an increased risk of injury as well as poor posture and movement.
Functional exercises teach the muscles, big and small, to work together instead of in isolation. We accomplish this through incorporating balance work, core strengthening, and functional body weight movements into our routine.
Such exercises also improve posture and can help correct any muscle imbalances by strengthening our smaller stabilization muscles.
If you are just beginning a training program PLEASE BEGIN WITH A STABILIZATION ENDURANCE PHASE! This stage generally lasts 2-4 weeks.
Far too often when people start their exercise programs they go straight to lifting the heaviest weight they can pick up. The heave it up above their heads or “squat” it on their shoulders, usually with horrible form, all the while thinking how tough and buff they must look.
Although there is nothing wrong with lifting heavy, there is a proper time for it and it is NOT at the beginning of a workout program.
Ashely Conrad, an outstanding trainer and leader in the fitness industry puts it this way, “If you can’t move your own body, you have no business trying to move weights.” Once we lay the foundation of function and have proper range of motion, then we can begin adding weight. It is important to include functional exercises into your weekly routine even if you are in optimal physical condition and an experienced lifter.
[bctt tweet=”“If you can’t move your own body, you have no business trying to move weights.” -Ashley Conrad”]
Here is an example of a stabilization endurance workout from NASM that will help improve your functional fitness! These exercises are generally done with lower weight and higher repetitions. Remember, form is KEY!
In case you need a little extra convincing, here are the benefits of functional fitness:
- Can reduce or eliminate pain
- Prevents chronic conditions
- Increases energy
- Enhances mental health
- Lays the foundation for strength and fitness advances
- Improves cardiorespiratory fitness
- Increases endurance and strength
- Increases flexibility, balance, and coordination.
“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.” Gordon B. Hinckley