- Posted by Christine
- On October 11, 2014
The term “Functional Exercise” is the new “over pronation.”Remember back in the 90’s when your local shoe store looked at your feet (in a static position no less) and told you that you have a MAJOR issue – you pronate. You thought – oh my gosh, is it that obvious? I didn’t think anyone would notice! Actually pronation, or the ability of the midfoot to be dynamic and move is actually a good thing. Anyways, back to the issue at hand (how easily I get distracted – squirrel!)…functional exercise.
If something is functional, it should help you function better. Thanks, captain obvious. In terms of exercise, your workouts and strength training should help you function better – to be a better human. Whether that means being able to stand on a line at a factory, pick up your kids from the ground, sit in a good position at your desk, build a deck, this list could go on forever. If you can deadlift 500# but you can’t bend over and pick up a pencil without getting a “twinge” in your back, your exercise routine is probably not helping you function in your day to day life. And that’s the ultimate right?
Our body is pretty cool – we create motor programmes (blueprints of how to move, which are created in our brain) for things that we practice over and over. Going to nerd out for a bit here…I mean that’s pretty awesome right? We practice something, then our body is like, no worries Christine, I’ll make this easier for you by creating a map that you can just plug into when you go to do that movement again. This can be extremely helpful because we can spend less time thinking about how to do a clean and jerk by practicing it over and over. However, if you are only practicing exercises in one plane of movement or exercises that are not dynamic (example: bicep curl on a machine where there is a fix beginning and end, and you don’t have to engage any stabilizing muscles) these plans will only help you when you are doing them and only them. If you are cool and doing dynamic movements like snatches, each lift your body is learning how to move and how to correct for error. This is way more functional because when we move in day to day life your body needs to constantly adjust to the environment. You will have more body awareness, better motor control, and overall just be cooler – have you seen people snatch? That shits awesome!
A preface to this however is that we need the ability to move well before we start loading the system. Just as you read in my last blog (if you haven’t read the last post…what the heck, get on it!) if we have poor movement ability our body will quickly learn to use that poor movement and eventually something will break down and cause injury.
So, be weary – functional is an awesome way to train, as long as what you are doing is actually functional!
Move Well, Lift Well, Live Well.