Functional fitness is using different exercises that will benefit you to complete tasks you would come across and complete on a normal daily routine. It’s all good when you do your workout and manage to lift more in your tricep push down than before, however, when it comes to carrying your weekly shop from the car to your kitchen or bending to lift a heavy box at work, is your body prepped and able to carry out these tasks?
Everyday routine tasks are things we take for granted. What if we suffered weakness or injury in a particular area of the body? They may become difficult to do. By doing functional fitness activities we can strengthen these muscles and work them with different muscle groups at the same time making them prepared and ready to use in real life situations; Thus prolonging quality of life and independent ability for those later years we will all come across.
How can I get functional in my fitness?
Many exercises you do with weights in the gym may be isolated muscle movements. These are still great to do and will aid in reaching other goals such as strength and toning, but add a few of these functional exercises into your routine to get you using several muscle groups at the same time. Have a think about when you would perform this kind of moves in everyday tasks…
Wall squats with bicep curls…
Put a gym ball behind you against a wall in the lower of your back. Stand with both feet shoulder width apart. Squat down as far down as comfortable and whilst at the bottom, keeping your elbows held to the side of your body, curl your arms up towards your shoulder. Return to starting position. Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions
Lunges with medicine ball twist
Start standing with feet shoulder width apart and medicine ball held in front of you close to your torso. Lunge one leg forward and push medicine ball out in front of you in line with your knee, twist the torso into the opposite side of the lunged knee. Return back to the middle and lunge back to start position. Repeat on the other side. Repeat 3 sets of 12 repetitions.
Sit up on the floor with knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a medicine ball in front of your torso. Lean slightly back until you feel your abdominals start to engage. Hold this position. Hold the medicine ball out in front of you and twist your torso to the left keeping your arms straight out in front of you and aiming to tap the floor near your hip. Return to the middle and repeat on the other side. Aim to do 10 taps on each side for 3 sets.
Sit up and press with medicine ball
Lie on the floor back down with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Start with the medicine ball on the floor behind your head. Reach back with your arms to grab the ball, bring it over your head, crunch your tummy muscles and sit up, pressing the medicine ball above your head. Here you will use the tricep muscles getting those bingo wings, the tummy muscles as well as the shoulders as you press the medicine ball up.
Bent over row with dumbbell
Use a bench with this exercise and put one hand and one knee on the bench. With the spare hand hold a dumbbell and with the other leg place it flat on the floor helping you stay in position. Starting with the dumbbell arm straight, bring the elbow up in line with your shoulders and lower back down. You will feel this in your arm muscles and your upper back too.
Functional fitness has become a popular way of working out in many gyms now. You will find areas set aside especially for functional fitness and the industry is constantly inventing and introducing new pieces of equipment to make functional fitness fun, exciting, challenging and diverse. Check out your gym for equipment such as Vipr, TRX and BOSU balls and try something new. There is always something for everyone no matter what ability or fitness level. Functional equipment is also great for rehabilitation purposes; getting those who have been injured or poorly back into normal life as quickly as possible.