We exercise for various reasons; sometimes our training is to build strength, sometimes it's for speed and other it's to increase endurance. Mainly we do it to improve our overall health. I workout because it makes me feel better and it's my way to maintain good physical shape and stay lean. I recently found out about functional training. It taught me that my form is incorrect in many of the common exercises I do. So, I sat down with James Bach from HERO Fitness to get the full story on what functional training exactly is and how it can help me... and you!
First things first, what is FUNCTIONAL TRAINING?Functional training teaches the body to support its' movements properly, and safely; so that maximum work can be accomplished with minimum effort while maintaining proper body alignment. There are many types of training; strength, power, speed, balance, cardio and more but without the body's ability to move effectively every other training really is missing a key component which could lead to a serious injury.
James says, maintaining the structural integrity of the system is crucial when training because the position a person trains in is the alignment the body develops into. By properly challenging the body, we are able to prepare our systems for the seen and unseen obstacles of everyday life. We want to be able to perform and execute the actions required in a way that is safe and efficient.
Here are some basic moves we do in daily exercise but James says many people have incorrect form. Check out his tips on how to improve your form and make these simple moves more effective.
Bridges are performed to create support for the spine and teaching it how to maintain proper posture through the feet. Most people perform this movement incorrectly, activating their hip flexors and muscles in their lower back, causing low back discomfort.
Planks are performed for the same reasons as the bridge but done while in a face down position on your toes (or knees) and elbows (or hands). Planks also integrate the stability of the shoulder girdle and lats and obliques. Most people have incorrect form by overloading their upper backs and allow their lower backs to sag, creating discomfort.
Squats are important because they teach the body how to raise and lower to different levels while maintaining neutral spinal alignment. This is important because every day we reach down to pick things up or reach overhead to bring things down to us. Most people deactivate their core musculature during their squats and compensate by overloading another area of their bodies i.e quads and hip flexors, upper back, lover back, knees. Feet rolling or shifting, knees collapsing or bowing, hips shifting to one side or the other or a sunken chest with raised shoulders and traps are common errors.
Side Planks teach the body how to maintain stability from the shoulders to the hips. Most people fail with this move because they pull their shoulders into their necks which creates discomfort. You should maintain the same distance between your shoulder and your ear when in the side plank that you have when standing normally.
James is a true expert when it comes to the fundementals of functional training. For more information or to set up your personal functional training session with James go to www.hero-fitness.com.