Functional Movement Training

What is functional movement? You have heard the term, as it has become a major buzz word in both the fitness and rehabilitation industries. Of all the exercise trends to come and go, this one has a lot of scientific backing, practical use and physical and mental benefits to those who train using it. There seems to be a broad general interest and development of functional movement training, however a particular fuzzy definition of what it is and what the actual benefits are. So, what is functional movement training and why has it become so popular?

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), functional movement can be defined as “integrated (total body), multi-planar movement that requires efficient acceleration, deceleration and stabilization capabilities.” In more simple terms, it is exercise that includes simultaneous whole-body movements such as combinations of pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, shifting, squatting, lunging and lifting. It is the things your body is required to do daily to accomplish tasks in your everyday life. The idea is that by training multiple parts of your body to work together and developing more strength, stability (balance) and power in these kinds of movements, you will ultimately be able to do more as these qualities carry over into your life outside of the gym. In addition to providing ultimate benefits in physical fitness, the characteristics of functional training itself provide many other physiological and cognitive benefits, making it superior over many other training methods. Here are some reasons (other than what was just mentioned) why you should consider using functional movement into your training regimens.

Less risk of injury – Because functional movement patterns involve multiple parts of the body moving together to perform a complex movement, the result is less isolated use of one joint, muscle, or muscle group at a time and therefore less risks of injury to any one part of the body. Functional movement patterns focus on distributing the forces of the gravity, body weight and resistance more evenly across the muscles, spine and extremities, which decreases the likelihood of common exercise-related injuries such as muscle strains, ACL tears, shoulder separations, spinal disc herniations, etc. This will not only prevent injuries and create current healthy exercise environment but also prevent injuries that can limit your ability to exercise and function well later in life!

A very efficient workout – In addition to burning ore energy, exercising more areas of your body at one time increases the efficiency of your training. You will strengthen more, stabilize more and burn more in less time than performing seated and/or single isolated muscle strengthening exercises one at a time. In a world where many people have difficulty finding time for a workout during their busy day, exercising using functional movement will help you get a better workout in less time.

Increased bone and brain stimulation – Exercise reduces stress and age-related health issues and lessens the physical functional decline that naturally occurs with age. Functional strengthening’s focus is on weight bearing exercise and helps to slow the process of or even prevent conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, as providing compression and resistance against gravity can help to strengthen bone tissue. Functional exercise can be even more valuable, as coordinating simultaneous movements of various parts of your body also requires an increased level of brain function when compared to performing isolated muscle strengthening. The brain and sensory system must work harder to communicate and react to the different feedback they’re receiving to achieve the desired movement or movement pattern. The increased “mental sweat” has also been proven to prevent and even improve current diagnoses of dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Functional exercise will not only improve your current quality of life, it will also contribute to a higher quality of life for years to come.

More applications to everyday life – Functional movement patterns are practical in that they mimic activities of our daily lives. Nobody ever lifted a toolbox into their truck bed or picked up their young child up to hold them or lifted a car part onto the conveyor belt on the assembly line at work by simply shrugging their shoulders or flexing their elbows. So why would we exercise using only one muscle, one movement exercises, when we can perform and repeat these movements and be able to live fuller in every other aspect of our lives? When your body knows how to squat and lift, push and pull, bend and extend, shift and rotate, as a whole, you’ll spend less time being sore from helping a friend move into their new apartment or even better, less time at the doctor’s office after. You’ll spend less time struggling to climb stairs and more time socializing with your friends and families. Integrating functional exercises into your workouts can provide you with a variety of physiological and physical benefits as well as an overall improved quality of life.

If you are interested in having a Functional Movement Screening done by one of our Trainers to see how you stack up, you can Text (727) 205-0427, Call (727) 877-660 or Email us at: