Exercise should not be solely for aesthetics; it should also have a practical purpose. While looking great certainly serves its function, you also need to be fit and strong as a benefit to the community, and to your family.
Functional strength training involves performing exercises that mimic real-life work and activities. Thus, they benefit you aesthetically, as well as practically. In recent years, they have become a staple of workouts for professional athletes. It is especially popular among elite martial arts athletes, like those in the UFC.
Examples of functional strength training would include:
- pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with weight
- swinging a sledgehammer, usually hitting a tractor tire
- flipping tractor tires
- dragging a weighted sled
- farmer's carries
- and fireman's carries, with a partner
Constructing a workout
A beginner's functional strength training workout might look like this:
- 10 20-yard sprints with a wheelbarrow, loaded with cinder blocks
- 10 sets of 10 sledgehammer swings, each side
- 10 20-yard sprints, fireman's carry
The advantage to these sort of workouts is that they cost very, very little, and most people already have this sort of equipment in the garage. In addition, they help improve strength, VO2 max, and cardiovascular endurance.
Set aside one day out of the week, as a replacement for one day of weight training, and you will see excellent results.