If you've browsed our YouTube channel, you may have noticed that most of the exercises we've posted are functional. Functional exercises have been the latest fad/buzzword/craze in the fitness industry. But what are functional exercises and how do they differ from traditional exercises? What are their benefits and their drawbacks? Read below as we explore.
What is a Functional Exercise?
Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.
For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair or pick up low objects. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform well in a variety of common situations.
How Do They Differ From Traditional Exercise?
Typically functional exercises either don't involve weight or they involve lower amounts of weight. As such, they typically will not leave you "bulky" or "swole". Since the only resistance you are using is body weight, they are an excellent choice for anyone looking to that lean proportional look. Most functional movements work several muscle groups at once.
Traditional exercises typically look to isolate and overload a particular muscle or set of muscles to maximize gains for that muscle or muscle group. Most of the machines you find in the gym do this.
Other Benefits of Functional Exercise
1) Natural - Because you're using your own body weight or free weights, you are using your total range of motion in these workouts and the movements match your own bodies natural movements. This is in contrast to machines which force your body to conform to the mechanics of the machine.
2) Saves Time - The biggest benefit! Being able to work multiple muscle groups at once, and keep your heart rate up saves you a ton of time in the gym... as opposed to traditional workouts which typically work one muscle group at a time.
3) Mobile - Most functional exercises can be done at home with little to no equipment, meaning you can take your workout on the road when you're on vacation. There's no excuse for missing your functional workout!
That's it. How is your workout routine? Can you add to it and save some time by adding some functional movements? Check out our YouTube channel for ideas and instructions and while you're there make sure you subscribe!