• Balance, eh?

    From Woody
    May 21, 2012

Friday Fitness: Add some FUNction to your FITness

What exactly is Functional Fitness

You hear me talking about functional fitness all the time. My personal fitness philosophy is centered on body weight and functional fitness exercises. Therefore, this helps enlighten you on my keen appreciation for countless plank variations! “Functional fitness” essentially describes exercises that help to train your muscles to work together. Fundamentally, functional fitness exercises help prepare our bodies for everyday common movements. Training with functional fitness exercises can be without a doubt very challenging.  However, when you decide to make the shift, and/or incorporate some FUNction into your FITness, you will be amazed at how much it will help enhance your current fitness level as well as simplify other everyday activities.

The beauty about functional exercises is that they can be easily done at home and/or at the gym as well as with equipment or without equipment. Some gyms offer specific functional fitness classes-look for those! Other highly recommended functional outlets are boot camps and yoga classes. Most enthusiastic resistance junkies adhere to functional fitness by incorporating combo exercises into their workout regimens. For those of you who are not sure what a combo exercise is, basically it is an exercise that simultaneously utilizes both upper and lower body muscles. Combo/ functional exercises are also known as “multitaskers”. Chiefly, these multitaskers are “multi-joint, multi-muscle” exercises. (Check out Amy’s ‘Double Up’ post for some great multi-muscle exercises.)

Some examples of functional fitness/combo exercises are as follows:

  • Step-ups with weights
  • Multidirectional lunges
  • Squats with bicep curls

Step ups with weights replicate walking a flight of stairs and or getting up off the ground. Stand behind a 15-inch platform or step (higher or lower depending upon ability level) – hold weights if desired. Place the right foot on the step, transfer the weight to the heel and push into the heel to come onto the step. Slowly step back down and repeat all reps on the right leg before switching to the left.

Multidirectional lunges prepare your body for common activities, such as vacuuming and yard work. To do a lunge, you keep one leg in place and step out with the other leg — to the front, back and or side. Remember to keep good form. Front and back leg kept with the 90/90 rule- weight in front heel.

Squat with bicep curl use weights or maybe don’t use weight. This exercise mimics the action of lifting an item from the floor. To perform a squat with bicep curl, you start with your feet hip distance apart, stable core, straight spine. Holding the dumbbells (if using weight) at your side, slowly bend through the hips and knees, keeping your weight back in your heels. Bend until your knees reach a 90-degree angle (as if you were sitting in a chair). As you slowly return to the starting position (weight kept in heels), turn your palms toward the ceiling, flex your arms and curl (bicep) the dumbbells in toward your shoulders.

Therefore, your challenge this Fitness Friday is to add FUNction:

With the given examples above, and or any other body weight combo functional fitness exercises you embrace in your repertoire – I challenge you to perform them! Spend at least 30 min working specifically on your functional fitness. If you are lacking creativity and are just sticking with the exercises above, for each exercise perform 3 sets of 15 reps.

NOTE: Other FUNctional exercises that I embrace are: anything to do with balance (balancing on one foot while lifting, etc.), renegade rows, high planks, low planks, plank hovers, plank climbers, plank jacks, plank walks, burpees, mountain climbers, push-ups, squats, power squats, lunges, single leg lunges, switch lunges, step-ups, box jumps, etc., etc., etc.

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