5

The 4 Principles of Functional Training: Principle #1 – Isolation vs. Integration

Principle #1

Integration vs. Isolation

Strength training on machines works muscles in isolation-although it’s rare that your muscles would be required to work in isolation in any other situation. Functional training, on the other hand, removes the support provided by machines, requiring the body to work multiple muscle groups in integration, as the body is intended to move, resulting in more balanced muscle tone.

6

Why Are Functional Exercises Important?

There are many reasons why functional exercises are important; here are some of the primary reasons:

  1. They promote maintenance and improvement in Active Daily Living tasks
  2. They promote spinal health and longevity
  3. They mimic motor patterns that translate into daily tasks, recreational sports, and work activities.


Traditionally, when people exercise, they are working on “cosmetic fitness” – exercising to look good and working on surface muscles or those that we see. The problem with this is that it doesn’t help you in daily tasks. How often do you hear that someone hurt themselves reaching to the back seat of their car, turning quickly, or bending down quickly to pick up something? These are daily living tasks; therefore, it makes sense to train the muscles doing similar movements. You aren’t lying down most of the day doing crunches, yet your abdominal muscles are constantly working to stabilize your spine. So why not train them in a way that makes sense (i.e. standing, sitting, twisting)? That’s what core and functional training are about, and there are several methods you can use.

7

Functional Training

  • If people are not active in sports or physical education (in other words doing something that challenges their stability and ability of muscles to react), they start to lose balance at the age of 15 or 16.
  • After the age of 70, nearly 85% of people die from complications due to breaking their hip.

If those aren’t reason enough to incorporate core and functional training into your exercise program, perhaps learning more will convince you.

What is Functional Training?

Functional training is defined as “activity that trains movement” and includes: balance training, stabilization training, core training, and dynamic movement training. The result of functional training is agility – improved reactionary forces where your body has the ability to compensate for changes in your center of gravity and can move quickly and efficiently. In other words, if you’re falling or suddenly caught off guard, your body is trained to react quickly, meaning you are less prone to injury. Exercises promoting core strength and stability improve or maintain posture and alignment as well as challenging balance and equilibrium.

Core training is different than just training your abdominals. Although the abdominals are an important part of your core musculature, true core training is a more integrated approach; it combines strength, balance, agility, and flexibility of the muscles that control the entire trunk and spine. Regular conditioning of the core muscles is essential to prevent injuries, correct posture, and making you more efficient with all that you do.

Functional training is about QUALITY of the movement, not quantity!