So what does this mean in today’s society? To exercise functionally we need to perform movements that imitate the actions we do on a daily basis.
- lifting children,
- doing the washing,
- carrying the groceries,
- mowing the lawn,
- general household dutiies
Functional training attempts to imitate the day-to-day movements of the individual. If you analyse 99% of people’s movement they will move along three planes:
1.Sagittal Plane(divides your body into left and right) : Movements to the side of the body, moving to or away from your mid-line. E.g Lateral Raises
2. Frontal Plane(divides the body into front and back) : These movements involve the push-pull motions and/or rotational movements. Common actions you may know of e.g the Bench press and the woodchop are included in this plane.
3. Sagittal plane (Divides the body into top and bottom): These movements include knee and hip flexion., front raises.
Functional training originated as a form of injury rehabilitation with exercises that are relevant to the movements of everyday life. Many traditional workout programs limit performance in specific hobbies, sports or daily movements, but functional fitness develops basic motor patterns to work at a higher capacity. Each functional exercise uses complete muscle activation and a purposeful movement pattern which allows for maximum strength gains.
Traditional weight training often only works one muscle at a time which is contradictory to the normal coordinated effort used to complete most activities. This type of training is more likely to lead to overuse injuries, muscular imbalances, and limit movement and strength gains.
|Traditional Weight Training||Functional Training|
|Focuses on one muscle at a time||Use of many muscles simultaneously|
|Seated or supported position||Need to stabilize self|
|Overuses forward/backward plane of motion||Uses all three planes of motion equally|
|Slow movement speeds for machine reps||Mirrors movement of every day life|
|Not related to movements of everyday life||Core muscles actively engaged|
|Results in tightening of muscles||Allows for maximum strength capacity|
|Un-challenging postural situations||Improves posture and body position|
|Range of motion restricted||Complete activation of muscles|
|Develop more bulging, bulky, swollen muscles||Longer more natural looking muscles|
|Can lead to muscular imbalances/overuse issues||Helps prevent injuries|
|Controlled and less effective movement pattern||Purposeful movement pattern|
|Shortening of muscle tissue||Lengthening of muscle tissue|
Functional training creates a complete program and gives the correct balance to all muscles in all movement directions.