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How To Fit Functional Training Exercises into ‘Your’ Training – and why you should!

Since all exercise is about stressing the nervous system in ways that allows the muscles to work to their fullest extent, it makes sense to constantly try to manipulate and surprise it with new and innovative movements and exercises.

Cue functional training exercises; specifically designed to stimulate muscles and joints through an increased range of motion to allow for increased adaptation to occur. This in turn promotes increased balance, stability, flexibility and over-all performance. Plus, since all these things are required to perform at our peak, and since power is strength applied, it stands to reason that by incorporating such movements into your regular training you will become more powerful and strong in everything that you do.

Try something new for a change

Try something new for a change

Functional training exercises should be incorporated into all your sessions as a matter of course, and mixed in and not left until the end when you offer a half assed attempt at something resembling a twist or turn.

Now, I’m not suggesting you start benching on stability balls or using thigh abduction machines. Far from it. Traditional compound movements should still form the bulk of your training if you’re training for size or strength and power.

But mixed in between your compound exercises could be a set or two of bodyweight movements that get you moving off your central plane and out of your nervous systems comfort zone.

F****r say whaaaaat?

Let’s look at a few example of what we could do then. Let’s say you’re working legs and you’ve just completed your sets of squats. You could then go straight into some tri-planar lunges to hit all the Gluteus muscles and all the muscles of the thighs and hips. This would involve lunging forward, then sideways, then backwards, all on the same leg. This is one rep.

The 3 Planes of Movement

The 3 Planes of Movement

Ok, so how about chest? Having just finished your incline bench press, you could drop to the floor and rep out a set of alternating staggered-hand push-ups. And following your flat benches, you could proceed with some spider-man crawls along the floor, cheek to the floor on every rep. Feel the burn!!

If your muscles are not used to being put through their paces in these ways, they will literally be screaming, and you will certainly feel it the next day. You might even sweat like you haven’t done so in a while. This is what happens when you tax the nervous system in new ways, and is the same as what happens to a newbie the first time they train. It doesn’t take much to work them hard. Not that they should either.

The point is that you use these funny angles and off-centre movements all the time when standing and walking, and over time imbalances through the body will start to show as tightness and pain, often in the knees, hips, lower-back and neck.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and keeping your body thoroughly well trained through all the angles of motion from as early on in your life as possible will ensure you the best chance of staying injury and pain free as you age.

If you would like to try some great functional training exercises in your workouts just chuck me an email and we can get things moving for you. I promise your own fitness and training will go through the roof. You can get in touch with me HERE

Or for more info on program building and coaching, have a look HERE

Stay safe training,

Alexander

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