You may have heard people in the gym talking about functional fitness or seen a Synrgy class taking place on the gym floor and thought it was just the latest in a series of fitness fads. However, functional fitness is one to take notice of.
With origins in rehabilitation, functional fitness and exercises focus on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in a fixed position. The main aim is to replicate the movements that you are most likely to do in day-to-day life – having big biceps and a toned tummy doesn’t necessarily mean you can carry heavy shopping bags home from the supermarket or lift a toddler out of a car seat!
Conventional weight training isolates muscle groups, but doesn’t teach the muscle groups you’re isolating to work with others. Functional exercise is all about integrating exercises and teaching the muscles to work together.
If performed correctly, functional training will lead to better joint mobility and stability, as well as more efficient motor patterns, which decreases the likelihood of injury.
How do I get started?
You may already have some elements in your workout, but here are some ideas of exercises you can add.
- Press Up
Although they are difficult, press-ups work many different muscles. There are three types of press-up – the box (on hands and knees), the three-quarter (knees much further back than the box position) and the full (toes and palms are the only contact with the floor), with a full press-up being the most demanding.
All three types of press-up are excellent for toning and strengthening chest, tricep, forearm and shoulder muscles. The full press-up also works stomach, leg and back muscles as they are used to stabilise the position.
Squats work the hips, glutes, quads and hamstrings, while simultaneously strengthening the core. Additionally, squats can help improve balance, coordination and bone density.
Squats can be performed without weight, which is ideal for beginners. When adding weight, there are three main techniques that are used – Goblet, back and front squats. There are also variations without weight, such as one-legged pistol squats.
Deadlifts may sound terrifying, but as they work your legs, glutes, back, arms, forearms, shoulders, traps and abs, they are worth giving a try.
A deadlift is weight training exercise in which a loaded barbell (or kettlebell, medicine ball etc.) is lifted off the ground to the hips, and then lowered back to the ground.
How can Simply Gym help?
If you’re a functional training novice, our highly qualified gym team will be more than happy to help you get your technique right to make sure you get the most out of the exercises. The team can also put together workouts and suggest other options to assist you in progressing further with functional fitness as part of your membership.
Our Synrgy classes also offer a great functional workout. The Synrgy 360 may look like playground apparatus, but in fact it’s a fitness solution with countless exercise options which combine several popular and dynamic total body workouts. Have a look at this video if you want to find out more!