Functional strength training has emerged as one of the most beneficial forms of physical conditioning for our modern-day athletes and sedentary populations. The American College of Sports Medicine has recognized functional strength training as a necessary component to achieving optimal fitness. Many sports medicine professionals believe that it is important to develop a specific training program for each sport. This article will introduce you to the three primary forms of functional strength training.
Traditional resistance training is designed to increase the strength of the muscles in the body by working with the larger muscle groups in isolation. For example, lifting a barbell with a dumbbell can only work the largest muscle groups in isolation. It cannot isolate the smaller, stabilizing muscles that make up the core or abdominals. Traditional strength training does not provide an effective training strategy for improving performance or reducing injury risk. Instead, this form of functional strength training typically focuses on increasing the strength of the largest muscle groups in the body, while ignoring the smaller, stabilizing muscles.
Know The Basic Things
When performing functional strength training, it is important to work all of the muscle groups using a resistance that is sufficient to stimulate the development of maximal muscle strength and force. Thus, it is important to consider exercising range when training to prevent injuries. Excessive range or too little range can result in injury and poor performance. For example, if you perform a traditional squat exercise with a greater weight one time, you may injure yourself due to the inability to extend the hip beyond your hip joint angle.
One of the common forms of functional strength training that many athletes perform is speed and agility exercises. These exercises improve both speed and agility for many athletic activities. For example, if you throw a ball at your best speed during a soccer practice session, you improve your throwing and kicking acceleration and accuracy. Likewise, if you run faster during a track and field race, you improve your overall running performance as well as your sprinting speed.
Core Training Program
Core training is an important component of functional strength training. Core training exercises focus on maintaining proper posture while maintaining the body’s stability. This improves balance and reduces the risk of sustaining an injury from sudden or uneven movement. For example, when lifting a heavy object, it is important to maintain proper form by maintaining the proper head and back position. Similarly, when sprinting, you need to have a smooth, efficient core to support your forward momentum.
The primary focus of core functional strength training for older adults should be exercises that engage multi-joint activities. Exercises that isolate specific muscles or groups often do not build muscle endurance or strength. Core exercises should engage several joints and multiple muscle groups to increase both strength and mobility. For example, sit-ups, chest presses, pushups, lateral pull downs, deadlifts, and squats all involve multiple joints and multiple muscles. It is important to work with a trained professional to develop these exercises into functional strength training programs.
The most effective functional strength training workouts often incorporate exercises that use many joints and multiple muscles at the same time. Examples include combinations of squats, deadlifts, overhead press, chin ups, and rows. These exercises provide a full range of motion and engage multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, a pair of chin-ups combines the ability to extend the upper body and extend the lower arm to complete a chin up.
The benefits of functional strength training programs are not limited to physical fitness. Older adults can take advantage of these exercises to improve their mental well-being and self-confidence. When aging, many people experience a decrease in physical fitness. Lack of physical activity decreases one’s stamina, causes depression and stress levels, and increases one’s risk for illness and disease. Exercise is a healthy way to combat the effects of aging. With regular exercise, older adults can achieve a level of fitness that will reduce health problems and increase the quality of life.