A Guide To Introducing Functional Strength Training Into Your Workout Routine
Those who don’t have a fixed fitness routine might find issues sticking with a new one. It seems that everything is on the way to achieve the dream body, isn’t it — it’s the cold weather, the busy schedule, lack of motivation to work out at home, you name it.
Regular exercises have been proven to reduce stress, boost energy levels, to improve sleep and memory. 30 minutes of daily moderate activity makes the body release chemicals like endorphins, famously called “the happy hormone”.
That said, functional training is a term used to describe exercises that help you perform activities in everyday life more easily. These exercises typically use the whole body — multiple group muscles — and emphasize stability and core strength.
Unlike hypertrophy training, also called bodybuilding-type strength training, which mostly focuses on one muscle group, a multi-muscle movement provides whole-body strength.
If you’re a beginner to strength training, we’ve rounded up a simple guide to introducing functional strength training into your workout routine.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
With exercises like squats and pushups, you’ll focus on some fundamentals that will help you maintain your functional strength.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your arms down by your sides with your palms flat on the floor.
- Inhale and begin to lift your hips toward the ceiling, pushing through the soles of your feet and engaging your core, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Pause at the top, then slowly return to start.
Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, leaving your arms straight down at your sides.
- Brace your core and begin to push your hips back, bending your knees as if you’re going to sit in a chair.
- Ensure that your knees don’t cave in and that your chest stays proud. Pause when your thighs reach parallel to the floor.
- Push up evenly through your whole foot back to the starting position.
- Get into a plank position on your forearms and toes.
- Roll your shoulders down and back, and ensure that your hips aren’t piked or sagging.
- Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
- Breathe here, holding for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
- Start standing with your feet together and arms down by your side.
- Take a big step out to the side with your right foot, bending the knee and sitting back into your hip as you go. Keep your left leg straight and your chest up throughout the movement.
- Push up through your right foot and return to start.
- Repeat the same steps on the other side.
- Get into a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Your body should form a straight line from head to toe, and your gaze should be slightly ahead.
- Roll your shoulders down and back.
- Bend your elbows and lower down, keeping them at a 45-degree angle until your chest touches the ground.
- Push back up to start, ensuring that your lower back stays strong.