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The Importance of Functional Strength Training

September 4, 2010 Print This ArticleShare

Author: Michael Greeves

Strength training is an essential part of any exercise routine. While many fitness and workout programs focus on lifting weights using a specified set of exercises, many aren’t designed to give you the practical training that will help you in everyday activities. Some, however, are designed to be functional daily routines because they allow you to strengthen your muscles in a way that will actually improve the activities you perform on a regular basis. This is what is known as functional strength training.

Functional strength training means training your body so it is better able to perform the movements you use for regular activities. This fitness routine will incorporate exercises that include: dynamic strength, agility and flexibility. These are very important aspects of strength and overall fitness because they will help by providing a practical use to your daily workouts.

Each day your body goes through a wide variety of motions, a simple fact you might even consider as you perform various tasks and activities. Just think of all the items you lift within the course of a day: a laundry basket, your kids, boxes and grocery bags to name only a few. You reach and pull when opening doors, picking items up off the floor or putting clothes in the washing machine. Even standing up or walking up stairs takes effort and energy. There are many actions performed each day that are normal, regular tasks, but wouldn’t they be easier if your body was more conditioned to do them? The answer to this question is yes and that is exactly what functional strength training is all about.

When it comes to planning your fitness routine, you will want to consider exercises that will help you function better on a daily basis. You want to make sure you will be able to do all the tasks mentioned above easily. Even something as simple as balancing while carrying boxes or bags can be a challenge if your body isn’t conditioned for it.

There are four functional exercises you can apply to your fitness routine every day that will help you achieve a more functional body. You can do these any time no matter where you are which is another reason why they should be incorporated into your exercise routine.

Pushups work well for functional strength training. You can even do them standing up. Begin by placing your hands on the wall and pushing your body away. Bend your arms so your body will move in closer to the wall once more but don’t allow your body to touch the wall. Several of these will help strengthen your chest, arms, back and abs. After doing them for a while you can make it a little more difficult by placing your hands on a counter or table and pushing up that way.

Squats are another great exercise that should be incorporated into any fitness routine. Most movements where you reach, bend or lift involve squatting in some form or fashion. They also involve lunging which can also easily become a part of this exercise. Squats involve assuming a squatting position and standing up. You can raise your arms above your head if you want to also work on your balance or stretch them out on either side of you. Make sure they are straight at all times. Continue squatting and raising back up several times. Lunges can be performed by placing one foot in front of the other to take a long step and bending the front knee. Switch legs and continue this exercise several times.

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