When going to the gym today, functional strength training is the focus on personal training departments. It has its roots in rehabilitation and was/is used to obtain functional independence. It is the trainer’s job to adapt and develop exercises which allow the individual the ability to perform their daily activities more easily and without injury.
Functional strength training exercises are weight bearing exercises that focus more on the core muscles around the abdomen and lower back. These are areas that most people experience some form of injury or discomfort in their lives. A lot of people experience injuries doing everyday chores and activities such as getting out of bed or a chair to picking up a child or boxes.
More traditional machine equipment are not used, they are limited to fixed patterns that do not mimic natural movements. The goal of these exercises is to work the peripheral muscles and engage the body’s stabilizers. Using machines for the workout does not accomplish this goal. It has become common place to see kettlebells, cable machines, medicine balls, resistance bands and such as these are all used during functional strength training exercises.
A functional training session should include the following elements – 1. Be based on everyday tasks. 2. Be individualized to the client. 3. Be integrated so that it includes a variety of exercises. 4. Be progressive as the client will improve in performance and so it must increase in difficulty. 5. Be periodized. 6. Repeated frequently. 7. Performed in context or specific environments. 8. There needs to be feedback from the client to the trainer.
Personal trainers should be well versed in functional strength training today. When looking for a personal trainer, one should inquire on their training methods and if they can provide functional strength training. It is also recommended to check their training certifications and if they carry any degrees pertaining to health and exercise.