Training for Movement
By Amanda Wilson, CPT
Most of the calories an individual will burn throughout the day are not in the gym, but while performing regular tasks such as: grooming/personal hygiene, dressing, toileting/continence, transferring/ambulating, and eating. These regular tasks are known as activities of daily living (ADLs) and they involve fundamental skills typically needed to manage basic physical needs. Activities of daily living can be both simple, such as getting up from a chair, and complex, such as vacuuming (Milinac et al. 2017). In either case, these tasks require cooperation between multiple muscle groups and functional motor skills in order to execute them. Depending on the demands of the task, some motor skills of the body may be more essential than others. Inevitably, these simple activities of daily living can lose their simplicity as a result of injury or illness and they will become increasingly difficult with age. Aging, even in the absence of chronic disease, is associated with a variety of biological changes that can contribute to decreases in skeletal muscle mass, strength, and function. Such losses decrease an individual’s physiological abilities and will make them more prone to catastrophic events, such as falling and injuries. As such, strategies for both prevention and treatment of loss of function are necessary for optimal health and well-being.
According to an article by Ruegsegger & Booth (2018), overwhelming evidence exists that lifelong exercise is associated with a longer health span, and delaying the onset of a number of chronic conditions, diseases and loss of function. Functional training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. This type of exercise prepares your body to be more functional by training muscles in coordinated, multiplanar movement patterns and incorporates multiple joints, dynamic tasks, and consistent alterations in the base of support for the purpose of improving function (Liu et al. 2014). According to an article R.C.C.Lima et al. (2017) the practice of functional training helps to improve the communication of the kinetic chain between the mind and the muscles, leading to improvements in muscle balance. It also has been proven to help avoid injury in athletes, reduce injury in the skeletal muscles and lower back, stimulate gains in muscle strength, and lower post exercise blood pressure without changing the level of perceived exertion. Furthermore, these findings indicate that functional training can be an effective adjunct therapy for both young adults and elderly adults who are borderline hypertensive.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that individuals perform functional fitness exercises that involve four fitness goals: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. There are a lot of functional exercises that involve all four goals. One of the simplest functional exercises that anyone can do is walking. Walking involves a combination of the four functional fitness goals as it strengthens major muscle groups, builds endurance, reinforces balance, and warms up the muscles to promote flexibility.
Other examples of functional training exercises include:
Knee-dominant hip and leg pushing – squats(TRX, wall, bodyweight), leg press, sit to stands, stair climbing
- Single leg knee-dominant hip and leg pushing – single leg squats, split squats, lunges
Straight-leg hip extension – romanian deadlifts and single leg variations
- Bent-leg hip extension – bridges, barbell glute bridge, hip thrusts
Horizontal Presses – bench press, push ups, wall push ups
Vertical Presses – shoulder/military presses
Horizontal Pulls – TRX rows, seated rows, bent over rows, hanging rows
Vertical Pulls – pull-ups/chin-ups, pulldowns
Exercises provided by world famous strength coach Mike Boyle
The idea behind functional training, is to train overall movements, rather than individual muscles in order to improve your ability to execute your daily activities. Proper functional training will help to maximize strength output without risking overtraining. Therefore, by performing exercises based on components of explosiveness, acceleration/deceleration and stabilization in all three planes of motion, you are preparing your body to perform daily tasks more efficiently, and without risk of injury (Burdick, 2017). However, it is important to note that functional strength training should serve as a supplement to traditional strength training, not as a replacement.
Please feel free to ask our fitness specialists for help with the exercises listed above. If you would like to be matched up with the right trainer for your needs, please contact Travis.McRoberts@activewellness.com
Burdick, A. (2017, April 28). Functional Training: How to Strength Train for Movement, Not Muscle. Retrieved from https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/functional-training-how-to-strength-train-for-movement-not-muscle
Correia Lima, R. R., Coutinho De Oliveira, C. V., De Brito Gomes, J. L., Pereira Da Silva, C. N., De Souza, A. M., Rabay, A. N., … De Freitas Brito, A. (2017). Blood Pressure Responses after a Session of Functional Training in Young Adults and the Elderly: A Pilot Study. Human Movement, 18(1), 67-73. doi:10.1515/humo-2017-0004
Mlinac, M. E., & Feng, M. C. (2016). Assessment of Activities of Daily Living, Self-Care, and Independence. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 31(6), 506-516. doi:10.1093/arclin/acw049
Liu, C., Shiroy, D. M., Jones, L. Y., & Clark, D. O. (2014). Systematic review of functional training on muscle strength, physical functioning, and activities of daily living in older adults. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 11(2), 95-106. doi:10.1007/s11556-014-0144-1
Ruegsegger, G. N., & Booth, F. W. (2017). Health Benefits of Exercise. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 8(7), a029694. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a029694
Thank You for 10 Years and “See You Later,” Michele!
To my TCWC family… I say family because it’s the best way to describe you all. I want to express sincere gratitude and thankfulness for every laugh, hug, story, joke telling moment, that we have shared.
It’s impossible for me to tell each and every one of you how much I appreciate you, so I am sending out this letter to let you know how much I will miss you. If you are reading this, know I am speaking to YOU:)
Life has thrown me a few curve balls over the last few months, that have led me to, after 10 yrs, head to South Texas to be with my family. It’s probably the hardest, heart wrenching decision of my life, leaving you all, and my dearest clients/friends… and California.
This has truly been the best decade of my life, and I will be thinking of you all!
I do hope to return back here, not sure when, but it’s my hope.
Perhaps if I click the heels of my ruby red Rock-a-Billy boots one night, and say “There’s No Place Like Home”, it may happen!
Much love to you ALL,
Michele A.K.A “Killer Miller”