What is Functional Strength Training?
Keeping our body in good condition isn’t always easy, but with a little bit of effort and hard work, you can help yourself to stay fit and healthy.
Becoming a healthy person is generally a balance of a few different things – a good diet, regular exercise and workout sessions, 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and low stress levels.
On the workout side of things, you should be doing both cardio and strength training. In order to decide which strength training exercises are best for you, it’s important to understand functional strength training.
What is strength training?
Strength training is an important part of any regular workout routine, and it is an umbrella term for the types of exercises we do which incorporate weights and resistance.
This enables the body to build its strength through the use of added weight and resistance into movements which otherwise would be fairly straightforward.
What is functional strength training?
Functional strength training is a type of strength training that uses regular everyday movements to help your body get into peak physical condition.
For example, sitting down is a movement which we all do every single day.
Squatting is an exercise movement designed to mimic this movement while training the muscles in the calves, thighs and buttocks.
It is therefore part of functional strength training since you will be building muscle and strengthening parts of the body which are used every day for regular movements and tasks.
Is functional strength training important?
While functional strength training might not seem like a great way to build huge muscles, it is more effective than many people realize.
It has been proven to slow down the ageing process and help people to move with more ease as they get older.
By doing regular functional strength training, the muscles which you move for regular activities will become stronger and more flexible, making it less likely to get an injury when playing sports or carrying out movements which are difficult and awkward for the body.
How can you incorporate functional strength training into your workout?
You can incorporate functional strength training by doing movements such as squats, kettlebell swings and planking as part of your weekly workout routine.
If you use weights in your workouts, simply add them to the new functional strength training exercises, such as squatting with a barbell or planking with small weights attached to your ankles.
Do You Need Variety in Your Strength Training Workouts?
Finding a workout that is right for you can be tough, and you might need to change things up every once in a while to ensure you’re still seeing the results that you want.
Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve in the gym, strength training is a very important part of becoming healthier and fitter and getting the body of your dreams.
However, doing the same thing over and over again can make your workouts very ineffective.
Should you be doing strength training workouts?
First of all, it’s important to understand whether or not you need to do strength training, and how often you should be doing it.
Unless you have a health problem which prevents you from lifting weights or using objects with resistance, everybody should be incorporating some form of strength training into their workout regimes.
What happens if you don’t have variety?
If you don’t have variety in your workouts, your body will get used to what you’re doing and will stop responding to it as effectively.
This is why you will find yourself seeing great results within the first couple of weeks of joining the gym, only to find that this stops and you hit a bit of a plateau after a month or so.
How can you add variety into your strength training workouts?
One of the best ways to add some variety is by making your workouts into HIIT workouts. This means that instead of constantly working out for a solid 20-30 minutes, you make your workout into a series of smaller 1-2 minute sessions.
During the small session, you spend around 45 seconds working hard to raise your heart rate, and then a further 45-60 seconds cooling down to bring your heart rate back down again.
Repeat this to get a great HIIT workout which is varying your heart rate to burn maximum calories.
Another way of adding some variety is to have a look at different exercises and movements that you might not be doing.
Many people pick up some weights and do curls or bench presses, but look into using other items such as kettlebells or doing other movements such as lunges that you might not already be doing.
Finally, vary the size and weight of the objects that you use to take your workout to the next level. If you’ve been lifting 10kg for a week or two, increase to 12-15kg to gradually build it up.