What is Functional Fitness?
Functional Fitness is form of training which has become popular in the last few years. It can be a very powerful way to improve your fitness as well as the movements in your day to day life.
Functional fitness trains the patterns of your movements to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. By using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.
Think of your body as chain. If you have a weak link anywhere in that chain, the whole thing can break. A good function fitness routine can help you strengthen and improve the weak links in your chain.
By using balance challenging, you work the patterns of movement which need to be improved.
How can you benefit from a functional fitness workout?
Since functional fitness is about improving movement patterns, this is extremely helpful for rehabbing an injury or improving sport performance.
Let’s say you have a bad back. To improve your condition, you would use a functional fitness routine to strengthen the weak areas of your patterns of movement.
With squats, lunges, back extensions, planks and rotational exercises that work the patterns of movement you are not strong in, you will improve your movement, strengthen the weak areas in that movement and reduce your pain as a result.
You can also use it to improve your performance in sports by using balance challenging movements, and mimic the pattern of movement needed for that sport.
<H2>5 effective beginning functional fitness exercises on the Total Gym</H2>
Your Total Gym is a perfect tool to create a functional fitness routine because it requires you to use your core for every exercise. It is very easy to turn your normal workouts into pattern-improving, pain free workouts!
Tips for Functional Fitness exercises
A good functional fitness routine is going to involve a lot of multi-plane movement and exercises which do not have your spine supported by board therefore forcing your core muscles to work.
Your Total Gym is a perfect tool for this most every exercise does this and multi-planes of movement can be easily added.
For most of your seated Total Gym exercises for example, try kneeling instead of sitting for the back row. It adds a new level of balance requirements and will really challenge your core to work to hold you upright.
Changing the angle on how you pull with also work the movement patterns of the body and force the core to stabilize the joints correctly. One of my favorite examples of this is the torso rotation done kneeling and pulling in either a circle up or circle down.
Explosive movements are key to improving athletic performance which can be easily incorporated into a Total Gym leg workout by adding jumps to your squats!
Remember that functional fitness is about patterns! Improve your pattern and you can improve performance and alleviate chronic pain.
Here are 5 functional fitness exercises for you
This one is off the Total Gym but critical for preventing joint injuries and helping stabilize the spine in movement.
Use a wood pole and place it over your shoulder so that it remains level to floor.
From a neutral position with the feet together, lunge forward, backward in 45 degree angles. Step in all directions.
Mount your glide board and take a comfortable squat position. Depending on your fitness level, either hop or explosively jump from the squat position. This one is great for developing athletic performance and increasing your cardio for your workout.
Planks with rotation
Remove your squat stand and take a plank position on your Total Gym. Increasing the incline will make this one easier. Begin to twist from side to side in your planking position. This really works the core and it is great for overall strength exercise.
Kneeling rows (with rotation to advance)
Holding the handle knuckle-down at the top of your glide board, kneel with your knees by your knuckles.
Stand up on your knees and begin to do a simple row. By standing on your knees you add extra challenge to your core and you can add variations along with single arm rotations.
Kneeling torso rotation with multi movement
This is my FAVORITE exercise on the Total Gym. Knuckle down in a position that is facing either to the right or left of the tower. With both hands gripped on one handle, stand on your knees with good distance between your legs. Keep your collar bones, chin and wrists in a straight line at times. With your arms straight, twist from the waist and pull on the cables. Add circular motions for added challenge.