Functional Training- It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
by Kerry Phonharath
Is fitness important to you?
Many times we find ourselves sucked into the stresses of the world and lose track of our time and priorities. Growing up as the youngest child in the household I was generally an active kid. I participated in basketball for the majority of my childhood and carried that over until the end of high school. After receiving treatment for an injury I had before the start of basketball my senior year, I was introduced to physical therapy which sparked an interest into the health and fitness world. In between college and graduation I worked as a physical therapy aide. During this time period I was getting great experience in learning how the body works. I was able to apply this to what I was learning in the gym while doing strength training. I realized that my workouts heavily focused on one-directional weight training (i.e. bench press, bicep curls). While this made me look bigger and gain mass, overall I did not feel better.
After joining the Function Factory family earlier this year, I was introduced to functional training and the real importance of its proper application. For those who are unfamiliar with functional training, it is best defined as a method performed to enhance the functions of the body. When training in a functional manner, the trainer focuses on the daily functions that the client is exposed to and trains their bodies accordingly. For example, if the client is looking to enhance their football skills, then the trainer would focus on the movements that playing football require, i.e. sprinting quickly, planting a foot, jumping, rotation of the body, and changing directions. If the client is having difficulty in daily functions such as walking or simply bending down, the training would be focused to enhance those specific motions. Functional training allows one to train 3-dimensionally to prepare the body for movements in different types of planes.
Once I learned the importance of training for function, I began incorporating this mentality into my routine. One of the exercises that I focused on is called the “lunge matrix”. The “common” planes of the matrix consist of lunging forward, lateral (side to side) and diagonally back. At first my lunges were unstable and it was obvious that I had deficiencies. My body was definitely in need of more functional training to be at my best. After incorporating more functional training methods into my routine, I began to l not only feel stronger, but confident in activities I enjoyed. I have been training myself for the past 6 months and have seen dramatic change in my daily activities, such as hiking, golfing and overall sports in general.
Functional training has become the foundation of my exercise and the people I work with. Ive personally experienced an increase in stabilization and strength while not risking major injury and allowing muscles to develop and adjust. Training functionally has greatly impacted my life for the better and I realize that this type of training is neither a hobby nor a fad, it’s a lifestyle. I look forward to working with my clients and aiding them in becoming stronger in their daily functions.