In our everyday movements, there are many things that we already do without thinking about it. We squat when we get something off the floor, we twist our torsos getting out of a car, you push when shutting a door and lunge when something is falling and you want to catch it.
Functional training is a type of exercise that uses whole body movements instead of targeting only one muscle group. Using lunging, twisting, pushing and squatting, we can improve our balance and posture, decrease the risks of injury because the muscles are stronger and more resistant to tearing. Here I will show you 5 effective ways to use functional training for exercise.
Firstly, the bodyweight squat is the best exercise you can do for your lower body; it strengthens your low back, calves, glutes and hamstrings. It simply mimics the movement you would make to sit on a low stool. You can extend your arms out or fold them in front of you at about shoulder height. Your knees should never pass your toes, and keeping your knees straight while squatting is very important also.
Secondly is the lunge, which is another excellent exercise for the lower body. You simply take a big step forward and bend your knees deeply and lift your body back up. You want to make sure your shoulders are straight and your arms are down at your sides. You can continue going forward, or do backward walking lunges as well.
Third is push-ups, which train the chest, arms and core. Always start with your belly and chest flat on the floor to better address functional strength. Without locking the elbows at the top, push up with your arms and keep your core muscles tight. The number of push ups isn’t important, it’s keeping your muscles engaged that really matters.
Fourth is pull-ups, which targets back muscles, arms and core. Keep your shoulders contracted and don’t overextend at the top of the pull up, just have your elbows in line with your body.
Fifth and finally is rotations. There are many different twisting rotations that can be great exercises for arms, chest and back strength, see a physical therapist or trainer to find one that works best for your body.
These exercises are a great basic way to get into exercising, but no matter what you do, be safe and seek help if you are experiencing discomfort or pain with any of the movements.