Functional training – the buzz word that has been hovering in the physical training and gym realms.
What is Functional Training?
Functional Training is a physical training approach to train movements of activities of daily living, or occupational activities.
In functional training programs, the exercise prescribed mimic movements of daily living activities e.g. carrying groceries, climbing stairs, play with your child, able to squat down to pick up something off the ground, so that daily activities that we sometimes take for granted, can be done with ease and injury free.
The training approach is used for improving occupational health. Those of us who sit for 8 hours daily (way too much!) in front of the computers at the office will benefit from functional training. The exercises prescribed in functional training programs strengthen core, improve hip and shoulder health, reduce imbalances due to overuse thus preventing repetitive stress disorders (RSD). Learn more about RSD at
Majority of us are kept in a seated hunched over our computers position. Therefore, most functional training programs are designed to
1) strengthen core, 2) increase stability strength, 3) restore balance of the muscular structures in the body especially the shoulder joints and hip joints.
From the muscular structure perspective, anyone whose muscles are well balanced in the chest (front), upper back (back) and shoulders will have better posture and less joint aches. In the long term, the joint arthritis-free lifespan is longer. We can achieved this by improving range of motion of chest muscles, working equally on increasing strength in upper back muscles so that it can pull the tighter chest muscles, resulting from prolong duration of hunching over the computers, back into the upright posture.
Similarly, the hip joint health can be improve by ensuring the strength of muscles in the front of hip are equal to back of hip. Weaknesses and imbalances in these muscles will result in multiple joint issues thus affecting the quality of life.
Having a functional training program to improve strength, maintain balance and mobility will minimize injury occurrences.
One good way to strike a musculoskeletal structural balance is to do cross-training: kickboxing, yoga, martial arts, Olympic weightlifting, dancing, baseball, basketball, football.
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