Why are you working out? Is it to train for a 5K or to improve your tennis game? Maybe the goals is your overall health or to get back on track with your weight loss goals.
Whatever the reason you’re working out, the reason matters. Functional Moves are all about capturing that reason and doing movements that will specifically get you to where you want to go. The idea of Functional Movement came out of the world of sports, where athletes were trying to get their cross-training exercise to a point that it was most supportive of their athletic performance. However, Functional Moves are now widely used by fitness enthusiasts who are training for much less intense competition, or who are training for their own personal growth
Some Functions are Universal
There are some functions that are universal. These are the foundation of Functional Moves. Rather than moving towards exotic exercises that are perhaps making the body look good or are developing very specific muscles, Functional Moves are all about exercises that reinforce the movements that people naturally do.
Here are some examples of Functional Exercises that you’ve probably heard of, and why they are considered functional.
The simple squat is analogous to sitting down and standing up. It’s functional because these are activities that everyone has to do consistently and constantly. They’re important muscles to build for everyday functioning.
Walking, climbing stairs, picking things up off the floor, these are all everyday movements that are connected to the lunge.
Though the Deadlift is seen as an exercise for serious weight trainers, it’s actually a Functional Move that everyone can benefit from because it’s so like common movements that we need to pick things up and move objects in the real world. Doing it in the gym will increase flexibility and strength for everyday life.
- Push and Pull
These exercises, like Push-ups and Pull-ups, are building important muscle groups and critical balance skills that let us do everything from drive a car better to moving around objects more efficiently. Upper body strength and mobility are helpful for everyday life.
Of course walking is a fundamental requirement for doing things! It should be a priority for anyone working out, no matter what level. Sometimes in Functional Moves this will mean actually walking, and sometimes it will consist of breaking down the aspects of walking to train more effectively.
Refine Your Movement
A central tenet of Functional Movement is to push out the movement from the core. That’s because the core is the center of bodily motion in general, no matter what that motion is coming from. It’s important to recognize how Functional Moves relate to core stability, because that gives us a starting place to grow from. It also helps to refine movements. All Functional Moves should start with a tightened core, even if they are then pushing out to the limbs from there. It’s all about patterns of motion.
Functional Moves take the body in and out of multiple planes of space and involve multiple joint actions. The body never moves in isolation in natural movement, so why should exercises ever move in isolation? The goal is to find a holistic fitness method that works not only during the workout, but that supports motion in all aspects of life.