Functional strength training is a type of exercise that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Unlike traditional strength training, which often focuses on specific muscle groups, functional strength training emphasises movements that are useful in everyday life, such as lifting, twisting, and reaching. This type of training can improve overall fitness, increase mobility and flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury.
In this blog post, we will explore what functional strength training is, its benefits, and how to incorporate it into your workout routine.
Strength training vs functional training
Strength training and functional training are two different types of exercise that have distinct focuses and goals.
Strength training is a type of exercise that aims to increase muscle size and strength by isolating individual muscle groups. This is typically achieved through exercises like weight training, bodybuilding, and powerlifting. The purpose of strength training is to build muscle mass and improve physical performance in activities that require strength, power, and explosiveness.
Functional training, on the other hand, is a type of exercise that focuses on movements and activities that are useful in daily life. Rather than isolating specific muscle groups, functional training aims to improve overall fitness by strengthening the body functionally. This means that the exercises performed during functional training mimic real-life movements, such as lifting, twisting, and reaching. The purpose of functional training is to improve balance, coordination, and mobility and reduce the risk of injury.
While there is some overlap between these two types of training, the main difference lies in their focus and goals. Strength training is primarily focused on building muscle mass and improving physical performance, while functional training is focused on improving overall fitness and functional ability in daily life.
Types of functional workouts
When starting your functional fitness journey, you might wonder where to begin…
Here are some functional workouts you could try:
- Bodyweight exercises: these workouts use the weight of your own body as resistance, making them ideal for people who don’t have access to equipment or a gym. Some examples include squats, lunges and planks.
- Resistance training: this type of workout uses external resistance, such as dumbbells, resistance bands or kettlebells, to challenge your muscles. This can include deadlifts, rows, and overhead presses.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT): This workout type alternates between short bursts of intense activity and periods of rest. HIIT workouts can include full-body exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, and jump squats.
- Functional fitness classes: many gyms offer functional workout classes, which include a mixture of bodyweight exercises, resistance training and cardio to improve overall fitness.
- Sport-specific training: functional strength training can also be tailored to specific sports or activities. For example, a runner might focus on exercises that improve balance and stability in the legs, whereas a golfer might work on rotational movements to improve their swing.
There are different types of functional workouts available, so you can choose something that suits you and your goals.
The benefits of functional strength training
Like all types of exercise, functional strength training has numerous benefits for your body and mind.
Some key benefits of functional training include:
- Improved functional ability that can help individuals improve their balance, coordination, and mobility, making it easier to perform everyday tasks.
- Reduced risk of injury during activities like lifting heavy objects or bending down to pick something up.
- Increased muscle endurance which can also improve stamina.
- Better posture and alignment by focusing on improving your core strength and stability.
- Improved bone density, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.
- Enhanced athletic performance, enabling you to perform better in sports and other physical activities.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should consider implementing functional workouts into your strength training routine. Why not start today?
If you would like to find out more about getting started with fitness, get in touch with us today, and we will be happy to guide you. We have classes for all ages and abilities, so you can feel comfortable and confident in making the leap in your fitness journey.