The Best Way to Improve Your Functional Strength
Saravanan "Sharu" Hariram
September 9, 2022
Saravanan "Sharu" Hariram
September 9, 2022
Functional training is a type of training that helps you perform activities in everyday life more easily. These exercises focus on the whole body and emphasise building and improving core strength and stability. The functional strength describes how you can efficiently perform your daily activities. For example, suppose you are someone who gets tired very easily while doing your daily activities, or you cannot perform some simple activities that others find no difficulty doing. In that case, you should start this functional strength training. It will help you and make your daily life easier and better. You will feel more energetic and can perform all the activities required around you. Furthermore, it will help you increase your quality of life and reduce the risk of injury.
The idea behind functional training is to replicate the daily movements you must perform and practise them every day for a fixed interval. Functional strength training consists of simple activities like squatting, reaching, and carrying heavy objects. According to the research by NCBI, functional strength training is very effective for older women.
To understand more about the functional exercises, we must be able to relate to them. Without a proper correlation understanding, we might not understand them.
To help you better understand how we can improve our overall strength and fitness, and avoid injury because of daily tasks, let us look at the correlation between the exercises and the activities in our everyday life. It is essential to focus on improving the capacity for a few functional movements with the help of functional fitness exercises.
The seven vital functional movements are as follows:
This movement depicts the hinge action required to perform basic tasks like picking something up from the ground. It happens when we bend at the hips. It is one of the most common movements we use every day.
Although the squat is a commonly known movement, it is when we bend at the knees and lower our bodies. This action becomes difficult specifically for overweight people with bulky bodies. In addition, it is also challenging for people with weak knees. The primary reason why people find it challenging is either because they have weak knees or their body is heavy for the knees to support them. So, if you are having issues doing this movement, you should practise the squats. Besides strengthening your knees, it will help you lose thigh fat.
It is another common movement that you indulge in your everyday life. It usually happens when you pull your body towards an object or pull a thing towards your body. It can be difficult for you if you have weak arms. For that, you need to perform arm exercises that include pulling movements. Gradually you will feel the strength in your arms and can control your body while pulling.
You indulge in this movement when you push an object away from your body or vice versa. It uses similar body parts to the pull action; your arms are responsible for efficient push movements. People with weak arms or less arm strength find trouble performing this movement. Hence, you can practise push-ups if you are having trouble with this action. We will also discuss how to perform these exercises.
You indulge in a lunge movement when you place one leg forward and bend with the knee. Although it is not an activity we perform quite often, it is a functional movement. You may observe yourself performing lunge movement while walking on a hilly area or any slope.
Twisting happens when you turn half of your body to look back. It could be for taking something from your back shelf or having a short interaction with someone behind you. Sometimes while twisting, people experience pain either in their spine or waist. However, practising functional strength exercises that help strengthen your core can make it easier and pain-free for you.
As the name suggests, carry movement includes many movements when carrying an object while walking. Unfortunately, many people fail to carry heavy things because they lack strength. You can build this strength with the help of functional exercises.
Functional movements, as the name suggests, are movements that you indulge in while allowing your body to indulge in everyday functioning. Basic activities like pushing, pulling, carrying, twisting etc., are a part of the functional movements. To perform these functional movements, you require strength, which you can term functional strength. Unfortunately, many people lack functional strength, which restricts their movements. The best way to gain the lost strength is to practise functional exercises.
Besides enabling you to perform the everyday functional movements well, a functional strength workout benefits you in several ways. Here are some of the benefits of the functional strength workout.
The primary purpose of functional strength training is to help you do the movements you need in your daily life without much difficulty. It strengthens you and provides ease in doing all the tasks. It focuses on your muscle strength, endurance, and multi-directional movement to do daily activities more efficiently and comfortably.
Exercise of any kind helps your mental health and boosts your mood. Similarly, functional strength training improves your mood and helps develop other good habits that support mental wellbeing. For example, due to the physical exercise schedule, you sleep better and can focus on your work more.
Strength training helps in burning calories. It is a simple mechanism. The more your body moves, the more calories you burn. With functional training, you give your body enough movement it needs to burn calories. It also helps the body increase the metabolic rate, which allows you to burn more calories and fat efficiently throughout the day.
The strength training mechanism is such that it tears the old muscles and generates new muscles while strengthening them. As a result, while training, you may feel mild muscle pain. However, you don’t have to worry about it. That is how our body strengthens. The old muscles must gradually tear out to form new, stronger muscles.
Functional strength training can increase bone density like any other physical training. While you involve your bones in several exercises, the bones become stronger and allow you to function better.
Functional training improves endurance and helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. The primary cause for the same is oxygen pumping. While exercising, your body pumps plenty of oxygen and circulates it throughout the body.
As per research, the effect of functional training for girls aged 12-13 years shows that it is more effective in improving movement quality, muscular strength, flexibility, and power among untrained healthy girls. In addition, it may also result in better health promotion and injury prevention.
The role of functional strength training does not limit to improving functional movements. Instead, it benefits your overall health. For example, it helps burn more fat and calories, helping you lose weight. Furthermore, it improves your endurance and strengthens your bones, making you fitter and stronger.
There is a wide range of functional exercises that can benefit you. However, let us look at a few essential exercises which will help you the most. Fitness experts categorise functional training exercises in different levels for different individuals. Therefore, you must choose the exercises as per your levels. Here we mention two levels there are to functional training.
A squat is simply when you bend at the knees and lower your body. For practising squats, follow the given steps.
Since you are at the beginner’s level, you might be among those who do not have an active lifestyle. Therefore, doing the complete push-up will be very difficult if you have never done it before. A full push-up demands you to start from a wall and move towards an inclined plane. However, here is an easy way to start.
For the wall pushup, follow these steps:
Once you are comfortable in the wall pushup and do not find it challenging, you should move to the inclined pushup. Follow the following steps:
This exercise benefits your glute muscles, hamstrings, and the abdominal body. Follow the below steps:
As discussed in the functional movements, the lunge is one of the essential exercises that you should practice daily. The steps for the exercise are as follows:
Plank is one of the best core exercises that will help you strengthen your overall body. In addition, it enables you to improve endurance and stamina. Follow the given steps for this exercise.
Jumping squat is a more advanced version of the regular squats. Follow the given steps for this exercise.
You are already aware of the forward and lateral lunges. Now, this is another type of lunge with a bit of variation. In the forward lunge, we put our legs forwards, while in the reverse lunge, we take our legs backwards. Here is how you can do it.
If you are confident with your inclined pushup and want to try the full-body pushup, follow the given steps.
Headstands are one of the best exercises for overall body improvement. During the headstand, your body should be upside-down, which helps increase the blood flow towards your brain. It drastically improves the mood and contributes to your face’s glow. If you are doing it for the first time, it is best to do it with someone who could help you if you need it.
Follow the given steps for the exercise.
The muscles targeted for this exercise are Anterior Deltoids, Upper Pectorals, and Triceps. Follow the below steps to perform this exercise.
This activity helps you improve the strength in the pulling action. In addition, it enables you to improve your arm strength. The steps for this exercise are as follows.
It is the most basic move: picking up something from the ground. For the deadlift, you need to keep some weight that you will pick. Follow the given instructions.
As we discussed, the wall stands for the intermediate stage. The next step after a successful headstand is the headstand pushup. Follow the given instructions.
Functional strength training is an excellent way to improve your functional movements and strengthen your core strength. However, it is not for everyone. Similarly, it requires an expert’s intervention.
As per Harvard Health, some of the precautionary measures to keep in mind regarding functional strength training are:
Besides the precautions mentioned above, everyone must consult a fitness coach for assistance. A trained professional will help you define your levels, train you to perform the correct postures and make a proper workout plan. That will help you reduce injury risk and get the best results.
Functional training is a type of training that helps you perform activities in everyday life more easily. These exercises focus on the whole body and emphasise building and improving core strength and stability. The functional strength shows how you can perform your daily activities with ease. Therefore, it will help you increase your quality of life and reduce the risk of injury.
A few benefits of practising the functional strength exercises include helping with daily work, boosting mood, Burning calories and fat, Building strength and muscle, Strengthening bones, and Improving endurance.
Now that you know about the functional strength, the benefits, and how to improve it, it’s time you start thinking about starting to improve your functional strength. Critical functional movements can benefit you in several ways. First, however, ensure that you know your levels and choose exercises that you can do to help improve functional strength.