Functional Training Barcelona
Outdoor Personal Trainer Barcelona
ONE OF THE BEST AND SAFEST TRAINING METHODS OF THIS DECADE
Functional training (FT) has been around for a while now, and remains one of the few training methods to stand the test of time. And not without a reason. The individual elements that define funcional training are simultaneously its guarantee for its relevance. FT quickly adapts to changing consumer needs as well as new technologies and equipment. As a safe and effective training method, functional training at ACTIVATE is one that is constanty evolving, and we will not shy away from adopting innovative techniques and protocols from other training methods in order to stay up-to-date and relevant.
So what is functional training?
Functional Training mimics movements implied in real-life, every-day physical tasks with the goal of increasing stability, strength, and range of motion in those movements i.e.: one's ability to perform them as safely and effectively as possible. The first goal of functional training is to optimise the way in which we move. Stability, coordination and fluidity are the foundation for performance. If we move well, our performance (and safety) will be greatly enhanced. If the quality of movements is neglected, both performance and safety suffer.
While the main emphasis in functional training lies on HOW we move, it can also be used to directly increase muscular strength, explosivity, agility and cardiovascular performance depending on the selection of exercises and at what level of intensity they are performed. We speak of ‘functional training’ because all of these qualities are transferable to physical tasks in every-day life as well as to athletic performance in other sports; provided that the training program is adapted both to the specific requirements of a particular discipline or activity and to the needs of a particular individual i.e. their anatomy, biomechanics, strengths, weaknesses and technical sticking points.
Hallmarks of functional training:
- Seeing the body as a whole; as an integrated system rather than as isolated parts. Physiologically as well as anatomically, everything in the human body is related. A certain movement, change of position or the application of an external force/load will require changes in muscle activation throughout the entire body. Muscles do not work in isolation nor do functional movements occur in isolation. When you throw a ball, for example, you do not throw it only with your wrist or arm while the rest of your body remains completely inactive. Instead, you will rotate your entire body in one direction, extend the throwing arm behind you and the other arm in front of you, arch your back and simultaneously take a step back with the leg on the throwing side. Then you will reverse the entire movement with as much force as you can generate in order to throw the ball as far as possible. Functional training seeks to emulate such complex movement patterns and focuses on optimising their quality in terms of stability, biomechanics, fluidity and force production.
- In functional training, we tend to use free weights or bodyweight exercises. The use of guided machines such as the ones you commonly see at the gym is minimised in functional training. Because such machines have a pre-defined and mechanically stabilised path of motion from which you cannot deviate, and because they frequently provide support for the body while you perform the exercise (for example with a chest pad), they do not require your body to stabilise itself to the extent that multiplanar exercises with free weights or only your bodyweight would.
- Functional exercises are largely performed on your feet, not lying or sitting down. The reason for this is fairly straightforward; when you perform a physical task in a real-life situation, you will usually be on your feet. Therefore, it makes sense to also train on your feet since that will teach you how to stabilise your body and generate a maximum amount of force.
- Functional training develops motor control, coordination, stability and strength throughout the entire body rather than attempting to isolate a particular muscle group in each exercise. Emphasis may be placed on a particular muscle group but the rest of the body will still be implicated in the movement.
- Functional movements usually occur in more than one plane of motion or direction at a time i.e.: not just forward and backward or straight up and down but, for example, up and across or with a rotational component.
- They are also often asymmetrical or even unilateral because most every-day physical activity or even athletic activities are asymmetrical in nature. Nonetheless, the training as a whole will provide a balanced stimulus in terms of movement planes, direction of movement and performing the movement with the left versus right side of the body.
- Within a truly functional training program, exercises are strategically chosen based on an individual's capacities and needs i.e.: to correct specific weaknesses, biomechanical dysfunctions / limitations, faulty movement patterns or muscular imbalances. Functional training should be individualised.
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