What Are The Functional Strength Training Tools?

 

We talked about functional strength, the compound movements and primal movements along with ‘relax intro stretch’ and foam rolling in the previous posts.

Now, what could be some effective training tools that you can incorporate in your quest for functional strength?

Thus, if the previous were applied, your training regime consists of lots of compound movements, alongside some relaxed stretching and self-myofascial release. Congratulations!

Your training program is already far superior to that of half the people in the gym and will be better for your functional strength and your overall health and fitness.

But there’s just one problem… it’s pretty boring!

Notice in the real world, we don’t do the same five things over and over again. In fact, in the real world, our ‘form’ on each movement is completely different every time we do anything.

You don’t really squat in the wild, but rather you would pick up randomly shaped boulders.

Likewise, you’d be forced to do pull ups on branches that were completely the wrong shape and size or you’d have to run across uneven terrain. Then fight a lion… (maybe).

In other words, training should be constantly changing and varied if it’s really going to mimic the real world and if it’s really going to be ‘functional’.

So how do you ensure your workouts fit that bill? Simple: you introduce some interesting tools and techniques that will mix things up for you.

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Here are some of these functional strength training tools:

Kettlebells

Kettlebells have grown to become some of the most popular tools for use in the gym as more and more people have been waking up to the importance of functional strength.

The kettlebell is essentially a weight that can be used like dumbbell but which has an entirely different shape. Specifically, the dumbbell is shaped like an iron ball with a handle poking out of the top.

What this means, is that when you lift it, the weight is below your arm. That now means that it’s capable of swinging and of creating its own momentum, which you then have to control and fight against in order to perform repetitions.

This then forces you to use your core in what would otherwise be relatively isolated movements. Likewise, it challenges you to lift at awkward angles and to generate power in unexpected ways.

All in all, kettlebells are more functional than dumbbells and provide some interesting new training options.

But perhaps their most important use is the kettlebell swing. This is a movement that involves clasping the handle with both hands and then swinging the weight between your legs while going through a squatting and ‘popping’ movement.

This then mimics the movement you use when you perform deadlifts but means you don’t need to find space in your house for a whole barbell that you’ll be dropping repeatedly on the floor.

It also means that the exercise is much faster, which turns it into a great fat-burning move as well as a muscle-building one.

When you combine these benefits, the kettlebell is alone one of the most versatile and important pieces of training equipment in your arsenal.

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Indian Club Training

Off the back of the kettlebell has come another very popular piece of training equipment: the Indian club. The Indian club doesn’t look like anything special; rather it looks like a stick with a heavy ball on the end of it. Like the kettlebell, though, its strength lies in its awkwardness.

When you wave around the Indian club, the weight isn’t where your brain expects it to be and you’re essentially lifting it against a long lever arm. These combined factors mean that you’re once again forced to engage your core and your grip if you want to keep it under control.

The Indian club is great fun and an awesome training tool if you have a garden. If you use it in the hoes though, you can expect to smash just about everything you own…

And this brings us to another interesting option: which is to just use the stuff lying around your house. You don’t have to spend money on fancy training equipment because almost everything in your house is unevenly weighted and can be turned into a piece of workout equipment.

A great example? A chair that’s strong enough to be lifted and swung around. Here once again, the weight is much greater at the end and if you hold the top of it, you’ll be forced to engage all kinds of muscles just to keep it in place.

Barefoot Running

Another craze that has taken off alongside the whole functional movement… movement… is that of barefoot running.

Barefoot running means taking off your shoes before going jogging, normally through a rural environment of trails that challenge you to jump over ditches and dodge around roots and stones.

When you do this, your toes are able to splay across the ground that prevents you from falling over or twisting your ankle while simultaneously letting you use the small muscles in your foot to propel yourself forward.

Barefoot running should be able to help you improve your gait as well, by forcing you to land with the ball of your foot when you land.

This cushions your fall more than hitting the floor with your heel first, as most of us do and allows the leg to bend like a leopard’s, in the food, in the ankle, in the knee, and at the hip.

Of course, barefoot running doesn’t always mean going completely barefooted as that wouldn’t be very wise anywhere where you could step on glass or sharp stones.

Instead, you can use barefoot shoes like the Vibram Five Fingers. These offer pockets for your toes, allowing them to move freely but also offering just enough protection to keep you safe.

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TRX

Another very exciting piece of equipment you can use for training in a functional manner is TRX. TRX is a device that can attach to a pull-up bar (which you can get for your doorframe for about $10) and which then gives you suspension straps you can rest your hands and feet on.

This then allows you to perform all kinds of cool moves, from bodyweight rows holding onto the handles and pulling your upper body toward the bar to suspended push-ups and bodyweight dips both of which force you to stabilize your body as the handles wobble around.

But don’t actually buy TRX. Why? Because TRX costs about $200 and you can get the very same thing with a pair of gymnastic rings. Gymnastic rings will cost you all of about $20 and which are actually more versatile.

Important: Once again, it’s important at this juncture to mention some health and safety. Injury to the shoulder is common with TRX/gymnastic rings. Likewise, injury to the knee is common with barefoot running and Vibrams.

That’s not to say these aren’t good for you, it just means that you have to be careful and introduce them slowly into your routine while taking care to get proper instruction.


Why Functional Strength Stands Out?

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How can functional strength different from the other so-called fad right now? To be clear, it is not really a fad by any means.

Health and fitness trends come and go all the time but regrettably, not all of them are worth your time and effort.

Some of them don’t work, some of them are over-hyped and some of them are just plain dangerous.

In fact, functional strength is the opposite of a fad and it’s a step in the right direction for fitness.

That’s because functional strength takes it all back to the reasons that most of us started training in the first place. Or at least the reasons we should be working out.

Let’s be honest then, far too many people train ‘for the mirror’.

How many guys do you see pulling their t-shirt up in front of the mirror after a set of sit-ups?

How many women do you see on treadmills wearing the tiniest pants in the world and barely working up a sweat?

Do you think these people are training for the right reasons?

And how about the guy who is so ridiculously muscular that he can’t touch his toes anymore without busting a gut?

This isn’t fitness – not really. And that’s what functional strength addresses.

As the name suggests, functional strength is a strength that is functional.

In other words, it’s strength that you can use. So you’re not trying to look strong or look healthy – you’re trying to be those things.

This is the difference between training like a gym bro and training like Bruce Lee. Which would you prefer?

Who cares about washboard abs? That’s easy! We’re talking about being sharper, faster, stronger and more powerful than all your contemporaries.

And that’s what we call functional training.

Functional because it’s a type of training that helps you to function better out there in the real world – not just look a bit ‘sexier’.

The Way You’re Training ISN’T Maximizing Your Strength!

When you first start working out and going to the gym regularly, you most likely will have fairly modest goals.

If you’re like most people, then your aim is probably to build muscle, burn fat and improve your body composition.

If you manage that and you look and feel better after a month or so than you did before… then likely you’ll take that as a win.

But as you get more involved in your training and you start to really get into the swing of things, you might find yourself feeling that your ambition grows.

Instead of just wanting to improve your fitness generally, you’ll probably start getting a buzz from setting new personal records from shifting more weight and from feeling the power in every movement you make.

Eventually, you become like a coiled spring, waiting to pounce and explode into action.

And when you get to that point – where you start wanting to be better than ‘normal’ – you need to reassess the type of training you’re using.

Is your current training program optimal in terms of building muscle?

More importantly, is it optimal in terms of building strength?

Are there other things you could be doing that would help you to become more powerful more quickly?

If you take a look at your current methods of training, there’s probably a fair amount wrong with them from a functional standpoint.

That’s fine, to begin with, you were most bothered about getting into ‘slightly better shape’ and for that purpose, they sufficed. It’s just that now you’re upping your game.

What’s the problem with regular training? What does that even look like?

Well, no doubt you’re probably training either full-body with some light exercises (press ups, curls, pull ups, jogging, tricep extensions) or you’re training usi

How To Lose Weight With Functional Strength?

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What can functional strength do with weight loss? But before that, let us find out first the importance of functional strength.

Significance of Functional Strength

The phrase “functional strength training” refers to a time for exercising each muscle group for strength to perform everyday activities in a simpler and easier manner.

Enhancing day by day movements with the muscles you use for everyday activities such as walking, sitting, standing, lifting, pulling, and pushing, among others.

You start to increase your functional strength by following a fun and simple routine right in the comfort and security of your home.

No compelling reason to go to the gym or to use fancy equipment. Working at home also implies that no one is looking at how you are dressed.

Similarly, as with most exercise regimens, variation in your routine will help to keep you engaged and upbeat.

When you are actively present in the moment, you will have more fun.A sample five day plan could include a day for each of the following, aerobic training using stair steps and jogging.

The next day you might have a day of stretching with yoga.

Then take a rest day followed by resistance training and a day that includes Pilates. As you can see, fancy equipment is not necessary.

Repetitions of daily movements may be all one needs to get started on a functional strength training program.

While waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning, use the counter to perform a few push-ups might be an easy way for you to incorporate bicep, triceps, and shoulder strength into your day.

Put aside an entire hour or more at one time. Functional strength training can be completed daily in short bursts throughout the day. Just remember to use everyday activities and repeat repetitions to build strength.

Proper nutrition along with the all of the above will bring about positive changes in your overall health. You will find your energy levels developing.

Even the sluggishness seem to fade as you become stronger and healthier. Another side benefit is having a good posture.

Another key point to remember when you are out there attempting to build up a high level of strength, it is not going to come quickly without a proper good foundation.

This is to say that if you are regularly eating unhealthy food, it will be very hard to keep up and build strength than it would be if you always went out of your way to follow a good diet to the letter.

While you do not have to go overboard and be really strict with your nutrition plan, keeping to healthy foods, in general, will go a long way towards helping you develop a substantial amount of strength.

And with good posture follows healthy bones. Functional strength training is a fun and simple way to increase strength, flexibility, balance, agility, and speed.

By simply starting to exercise and sticking to it, you have the opportunity to reduce diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

You also create a better way of life for yourself by helping to maintain your weight, bone structure, and muscle mass.

Additionally, exercise helps contribute to healthy mental states, keeping us smarter, saner and happier.

Functional strength is essential for good health, daily exercise and daily routine builds one’s muscles. Find opportunities to work out in everyday activities to improve your health strength condition.

Weight Loss and Functional Strength

Functional strength helps to reduce weight through routine exercises and other practices involved in weight reduction.

Numerous individuals think negative about this matter, but the fact is, weight loss is easier provided you are interested in taking part in the daily exercise.

Exercise is good for you no matter what time of day. However, when you go for a walk or do some other kind of exercise in the evening, it is more effective in light of the fact that the digestive system or the metabolism slows down in the night so exercise can help boost your metabolic health.

Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner will increase your metabolic rate and keep it elevated for 2 hours further even after you stop exercising.

This implies that if you go for an evening walk or do some other form of exercise after your evening meal, then this exercise will burn off a few of the calories that came from the meal and reduce the likes of weight gain.

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The following are six useful tips to get you on your way to losing weight.

1. Use Intervals when performing cardio.

Interims are short blasts of high-power exercise, followed by a rest period. This is then rehashed.

You can utilize this strategy in the exercise center, beginning with the bicycle and advancing on to the cross mentor, treadmill or stepper.

Additionally, in the event that you can’t get to the exercise center, hit the ground outside and run interims between light posts. Sprint a hole in the middle of posts and after that walk or run.

2. Eat fresh and avoid processed food.

This concern ought to be self-evident, just giving the body what it needs.If you might want more information, then examine the best eating regimen for weight loss and wellness.

3. Add weight training to your workout to boost fat loss, build definition and enhance useful quality.

Try not to stress in case you’re a lady you won’t get lifting so as to protrude muscles up a weight.

The thought of utilizing weights as a part of the fat blaze is the more muscles utilized at a higher power, the more calories smoldered.

Use compound activities instead for quick, useful weight loss.

4. Constantly have breakfast, an essential meal of the day.

Eating consistently reduces the amount of fat stored by your body! Likewise, whenever you need to increase great definitions you need to bolster the muscle and not starve it.

5. Think thin and change your weight gain habits.

It’s one thing to want to lose weight and another to take on the challenge. Don’t start a new healthy lifestyle half-hearted.

You need to surround yourself with positive thinkers and remove all negative thoughts.

People who think you can’t do it are a waste of time and should be cast aside until you can show them otherwise.

Furthermore, reduce the temptation in your diet by gradually removing the weight gain food from your cupboards and then keep them out!

6. Understand home training and remove all excuses!

If you understand how to train from home, then there is no problem when you can’t make the gym or if you go traveling.

Best Exercise for Weight Loss

The best exercise for weight loss is, in fact, a combination of cardio workout and weight training.

The general public does one or the other. On the other hand, with the intention to both burn fat and gain muscle, on the way to lead to better weight loss, the combination is necessary.

It is highly vital to exercise for weight loss. Diet is equally essential in the battle of the bulge. However, to stay the load off longer and develop into a healthier individual, the workout is best.

Research shows that weight reduction will increase by 56% when blended aerobic exercise and power training.

After all, this makes sense since you are changing the fats you lose with healthy muscle that, when used continuously, will burn the ones extra energy.

You can also devour and stay your weight at right degree or even continue that can assist you to lose weight.

Not all exercise is created equal. At the same time as it is precise that simply shifting will help a few workouts will help your efforts exponentially.

Center your attention on energy and cardiovascular training for the best results. Make a promise to yourself to create a simple workout plan and keep on with it. The consequences might just amaze you.

Strength Coaching

The most efficient factor about strength training is that your efforts change into cumulative to the point the place you’ll be able to burn calories to your sleep.

As you construct muscle, you’re going to building up your metabolism. Work with lower weights and extra reps to build lean muscle that’s not bulky.

Do not fret if your paintings aren’t instantly apparent. Not only that, as you shed extra pounds, you’ll screen the smooth, attractive muscle below the fat.

Another great benefit of potential training is that as you strengthen and reinforce your muscles, you scale back your chance of injury.

Too many would-be athletes injure themselves by hopping on a treadmill without just right muscle tone and wind up temporarily sidelined with an injury.

They feel defeated and are much less most probably to take a look at once more, striking their weight reduction objectives in jeopardy. Ask a teacher to set up a proper newbie regimen for you that you’ll stick with.

Cardio Training

As power training builds up your muscle tissues, aerobic coaching will work to burn off that layer of fat that may be concealing them.

Any other vital part of the aerobic workout is that it’s great for your heart that is doubly necessary in case you are overweight.

Some of the absolute best things approximately cardiovascular exercise is that it does not just simply jumping on a treadmill or an elliptical trainer.

A few other people do experience these, and in case you are one in every of them, extra energy to you.

However, folks want something with a little more variety. Many sports and video games also include aerobic, including:

– soccer

– basketball

– racquetball

– tennis

For people who find themselves looking to ease into exercise and cardiovascular coaching, a perfect choice is swimming. It is simple on your joints and provides an excellent workout.

Plus, it gets rid of the whole “sweaty” excuse. Many gyms offer water aerobics classes designed to get your heart pumping at the same time as being simple in your body.

Exercise is vital for weight loss for lots of reasons. The repetition of weightlifting and resistance training builds bone mass will increase metabolism and makes long, leaner looking muscles.

Cardio exercise builds strength for your heart and lungs, which in flip extra successfully makes use of the oxygen to your body. Exercise for weight loss is also a good idea to diabetes sufferers.

Exercise lowers blood sugar and is helping the frame’s cells settle for insulin within the body better. Exercise can also help in handling a normal blood drive and decrease cholesterol.

Generally, exercise is excellent for increasing your power levels. If you’re feeling better bodily, you’ve got extra energy to head out and do more.

You’ll develop into an additional active particular person with a positive outlook on life. Endorphins are released while you exercise, so you’ll be able to you’ll want to ride top to your “prime” for a while.

To sum up, functional strength exercise enhances weight loss when necessary measures are put in place.

 

 

 

What are the Primal Movements and Compound Movements?

 

Are you familiar with the primal movements, compound movements or big lifts?  Check below which exercise movements you have been including in your routine.

 

Primal Movements

Our modern lifestyle makes us difficult to move around and leads us to suffer some body pains. Perhaps, you have seldom meaningful and challenging physical activity.

 

Due to the usual office work, most people spend their days sitting down in front of the computer. Sitting is not good for your body and your health.

 

Why? Because when you sit, you are forced into an unnatural position. Think about it. There were no chairs in the wild and you would never have made this movement.

 

When you sit at a desk, it forces your legs into a right angle. This then means that your hip flexors – the muscles that move your legs upward in front of you – will be shortened and tightened.

At the same time, your hip extensors found around the back will be stretched and elongated.

 

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In other words, you’re gradually destroying your joints and musculature.

And you sit like this for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week!

Then you come home and sit like it some more!

So how would you relax in the wild? Simple! You have to squat.

 

Squatting is the natural equivalent of sitting and it’s actually really good for you because it puts us in a full body stretch.

 

Today, a fair proportion of people are actually incapable of squatting at all. Try it yourself. Are you able to completely squat down while keeping your heel flat on the floor?

 

 

This is considered one of the basic, fundamental movements that all of us should be able to do. In fact, there are thought to be seven of these ‘primal movements’ which are:

  • Squatting
  • Lunging
  • Bending
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Gait (walking or running)
  • Twisting

According to experts, these 7 moves form the natural basis for everything our bodies are designed to be able to do.

 

These are all the movements we would have used in the wild and they are all the movements that you should be able to perform easily and powerfully as a functional human being.

That’s then where you have to ask yourself, how comfortably can you squat right down to the ground?

 

The issue for many people is that squatting causes tension in the Achilles heel due to lack of practice. The result, they’ve lost basic mobility that they should have.

If you’re in the same boat, then you’re almost operating at a serious deficit.

 

If you can’t do these basic seven things, then chances are that you’re lacking in fitness, in flexibility, and in general health. And it will very likely lead to injury and other problems somewhere down the line.

 

So can you guess where we’re going to go with this? That’s right. These are the basic movements that a good training program should be made up of.

By training the 7 primal movements, you’re able to strengthen yourself through all the regular movements that you might face in daily life and you’re able to prevent injury in all of them.

 

If you incorporate these 7 movements into all your workouts, then you’ll be practicing these basic, essential move sets under heavy load.

 

The result for this. You’ll develop more power, strength, and mobility in every way that counts. You’ll feel more stable and you’ll move faster and better.

 

 

Compound Movements 

Perhaps, your average workout regime will involve a whole lot of bicep curls, tricep extensions and resistance machines, like chest press which mean, you’re going to be isolating the muscle group.

 

In turn, that means that you’re focussing on just that one muscle through a movement that only uses one ‘joint’ as the hinge.

 

When you curl a dumbbell – if you do it correctly – you are using only the bicep and nothing else. The same goes for performing bench press – this isolates the chest as much as possible.

 

On the other hand, were you to perform a regular bench press, you would actually be involving a ton of smaller supporting muscles as well as completely different muscle groups.

A bench press utilizes the pecs, the deltoids, the triceps, the core and more.

 

So, which is more functional do you think? Which is the more likely to be useful in the real world? Of course, it’s the bench press, which is the same movement you’d use if ever you were trapped under a boulder.

 

Or perhaps if you were playing with your kids by holding them over your head. What about the bench press? That would probably never be useful in real life.

 

Likewise, for the bicep curl, this movement is completely non-functional. When do you ever curl something in real life?

 

The closest you would come is carrying shopping but of course, you don’t curl your shopping bag! In reality, carrying shopping is much closer to a movement known as the ‘farmer’s walk’ which happens to be a more functional move.

 

Compound movements include things like bench press, squats, deadlift, pull ups, press ups – all things that use multiple muscles working together.

 

Why? Because that’s how you use your musculature in real life. You almost never isolate just a single muscle group.

If you want to train yourself to be more functional, you should aim to use as many muscles at once as possible.

 

Another point to consider is that when you train with these kinds of moves, you activate more of your body.

The result is that you burn more calories and your body produces more ‘anabolic hormones’ like testosterone and growth hormone – which leads to more muscle growth even once you’ve put the weights back down.

 

Of course, when you train with only big lifts like the bench press and the deadlift, the individual muscle groups don’t get as intense a workout.

Pull ups don’t hit the biceps as hard as pull ups and they don’t create as many micro tears more on that in a moment.

 

So in other words, you might not see the same bodybuilder type physique immediately if you use this more functional training.

But you will see more overall growth and you will be able to lift and push more weight in a real-world setting.

 

To reiterate again, compound movements  are your movements that utilize multiple major muscle groups at once in unison.

Examples of compound lifts include:

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bench press
  • Pull up
  • Press up
  • Overhead press
  • Kettlebell swing

 

What’s also cool about these movements, they actually lead to better fat loss and muscle gain. That’s because the body responds to us training our muscles by producing a variety of hormones called ‘anabolic hormones’.

 

These include growth hormone and testosterone, which in turn tell the body to start burning fat and building muscle tissue.

 

The more muscle you use, the more of these hormones get released.

So, as you can imagine, something like the squat that incorporates all of your biggest muscles into one powerful movement will really encourage your body to go into a muscle-building zone.

 

What’s also key to point out at this stage, is that compound movements also allow you to lift heavier weights. Why? Because when you go compound, you’re using more big muscle.

 

More big muscle means more power, means more weight! And as you might imagine, the more weight you move, the more intense the workout becomes for the body as a whole.

 

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Movements to Kick Off

So with that in mind, what are some compound movements that you can use to start targeting the seven primal movements?

Here are some examples.

  • Squatting – Squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings
  • Lunging – Lunges, side squats
  • Bending – Deadlifts, sit ups, leg raises
  • Pushing – Bench press, overhead press, push up
  • Pulling – Pull up, row
  • Gait– Jogging, running, walking
  • Twisting – Heavy bag, twisting sit-ups, cable woodchop

 

Therefore, if you take these exercises and combine them into a workout, you’ll have performed a routine that targeted every important movement the human body is capable of.

That recruits a huge amount of muscle and that puts the body into a highly anabolic state.

 

Important: Before you try any of these movements, it’s important that you learn to do them properly. This is kind of the whole point.

 

If you don’t learn how to use the moves properly then you’ll actually just be rehearsing and learning bad movement patterns, which will in turn cause you to become increasingly injury prone.

 

Little mistakes like rounding the back during a squat can even lead to an immediate injury so make sure you find a trainer in the gym or someone who looks like they know what they’re doing and ask for help.

 

You can find plenty of instruction online but nothing beats actually speaking with someone who can see your form and correct it in person.

There’s way more to functional strength and fitness than that. Functional training comes down to flexibility, to diet, to running form and much more besides.

Chances are you’re not stretching the best way possible right now or training for the optimum cardio benefit.

Thus, if you want to learn how to make the very most of your body and to become the healthiest and most powerful you can be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images: gettyimages.com