What is Functional Training?
Functional training is a physical fitness philosophy that emphasizes how muscle groups work together during daily activities around the home or office. It also emphasizes sports that you participate in regularly. This type of exercise can help you remain healthy and have a better quality of life by avoiding injuries from everyday activities.
Functional Training Equipment
Functional training equipment can include resistance bands, battle ropes, and indoor rowing machines. The difference between functional training equipment and standard equipment is that this type of equipment works with more than one group of muscles at once. Standard gym equipment works as a muscle group in isolation. However, as we go about our daily routine, we rarely use a single muscle group in isolation without engaging others.
Exercise bands are often the most underrated and underutilized pieces of functional training equipment in the gym. Exercisers can increase strength with elastic bands just as well as free weights. The beauty of using resistance bands for exercise is that they lower the impact of the workout, keep your muscles in tension during the entire exercise, and can be paired with weights to give you the best of both worlds.
Dumbbells are probably one of the first (or maybe the only) things you consider when you think of weight training in your home gym. They are essential to any training program, and a standard piece of functional training equipment.
Perhaps one of the most underestimated pieces of fitness equipment you see out there today, kettlebells are a great way to increase strength and power. Kettlebells give you the ability to perform explosive, powerful, compound lifts without any of the fuss that comes with big, bulky equipment. Not only are they compact and functional, but they can provide an unlimited amount of exercises that can be powerful movements or fun cardio to switch it up.
Jumping rope is a great cardio exercise that works your arms, legs, and core while improving your balance. Consistently skipping a rope is more challenging than you might think. With each jump, you improve your conditioning and coordination, which is beneficial in all facets of your life.
If you own a small personal training gym, you might consider getting a set of battle ropes for your functional training workouts. Battle ropes are fun, challenging, and can be great for that full-body strength and endurance workout you are looking for.
Medicine balls and slam balls are strategically weighted balls that are useful for building strength, balance, stability, and coordination as well as increasing the efficiency and efficacy of your un-weighted workouts. Plus, they also serve as a valuable way to help athletes recover from injuries. Some have handles to increase the strength of your grip and are great for balance exercises while others are smooth for tossing and passing. Some bounce for resistance training, others are simply meant to slam onto the floor to increase the power of your throws.
The Bosu ball is a great tool to learn how to control your body position in space, test your balance, and rehab lower-body injuries. It’s especially good for single-leg exercises, ab workouts, and push-up variations.
Gliders create an unstable environment (kind of like a stability ball for your hands and feet). Try some reverse lunges, hamstring curls, or inchworms. The magic of an unstable exercise environment is in the fact that your muscles are under constant stress to keep the body from collapsing. If you pair the reverse lunges with some dumbbell shoulder presses, you can create some challenging total body workouts.
How to Get Started
Functional strength training is growing in popularity for a reason. It adds a new dimension to strength training – but these moves can be challenging if you’ve never done them before. Usually, it’s people who have focused their workout exclusively around weight machines that find them the most challenging. The good news is you’ll develop greater functional strength over time, which will make it easier to do the tasks you do every day.
Now it’s your turn to take action. Learn more about becoming a Functional Training Specialist and gain the focus that helps you build unstoppable confidence.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.
NESTA coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.