I see a lot of patients who come to see me with injuries or niggles associated with poor training and programming. I’ve found that functional resistance training is a great way to build strength and function without the creating the muscle imbalances and injury patterns seen with machine based weight training and chronic cardio sessions.
Functional Weight Training
When weight training, I recommend functional resistance training over machine based exercises. Our bodies are designed to push, pull, twist, lunge, squat and jump. Functional movements focus on how the body is designed to be used in everyday movements rather than working certain muscles in isolation. Isolation exercises ignore how the body naturally functions and unless you are training specifically for hypertrophy or body building I think it is better to focus on functional, full body training. This type of training will help to improve strength, balance, mobility and prevent injuries.
Some examples of functional movements are below.
- Push Ups
- Pull Ups
- Box Jumps
Body Weight is Best
When starting out in a training programme it is important to learn how to move your body weight effectively first before adding additional weight through dumbbells or barbells. So if you are starting out try doing body weight squats and lunges initially. There is no point rushing into a full on weight training programme if you haven’t trained for a while. Start light and slowly build up to more weight, this will strengthen your body without causing injury. Even if you are an experienced gym user the fantastic thing about functional movements is that they can be made harder without having to add external weights. For example if you have mastered a push up you can try TRX push ups or Medicine ball push ups to make these exercises harder. Body weight training is the safest way to train since you aren’t adding any outside resistance, which may cause soft tissue or joint injuries.