Understanding functional fitness
For the personal trainer, teaching functional fitness means training with a clear purpose. A purpose that reaches beyond the typical mantra of burning calories and building up beauty muscles. Traditional fitness methods that focus on how many and how much may have a positive impact on vanity, but usually lack function.
Prescribing exercise that supports the natural function of how the human body is designed to move is necessary. Most of you reading this live in a culture where people excessively sit and are masters of dysfunctional repetitive movement patterns. Movement patterns that we often fall prey to when it comes to chronic and non-contact acute injury. We, as a collective, must learn to pay better attention to the details of every exercise we do. Those details affect us far beyond a given workout. For example, how does an exercise feel or where do we feel it? Doing an exercise mindlessly and feeling an exercise are two very different processes.
Moving Right is Function
At Move Right KC, we say that moving right matters. Here’s one of the reasons: subtle little movements and positional changes make a world of difference. These nuances of functional fitness training are the difference between your future success and potential injury. And while this is good information for you to have, leave the deep-dive on how to implement this to your personal trainer. But hold them to it.
Make sure they know: where you are supposed to feel the movement. Why you should feel it there. And, what you’re accomplishing by doing so.
The Science and Art of Programming Functional Fitness
When we program a new workout for one of our members, we always look, first, at the black and the white of how they move. Objective functional assessments or movement screens are what backs up our programming.
Every trainer should have an understanding of why they are programming every exercise for their client.
Observing and understanding the subjective is also important to programming. Everybody is different, with different personalities, circumstances and goals. The contribution of subjective data is what creates the art of exercise prescription. Combining the objective with the subjective of programming ensures that the program is unique to each person.
As Dustin Yantzi (pictured above) likes to say, “there are principles (the science) and methods, (the art) principles don’t change, methods do.”
So once the scientific foundation is in place, it’s time for the qualified trainer to become an artist.
Establishing a Plan
The answers to these three questions inform everything: the “what”, the “why”, and the “how.”
Without this sound methodology “what” exercises to prescribe can easily become a guessing game. If there is no reason or “why” to back up “what” (the exercise) someone is doing, it’s like packing up the car for a long trip to Disney World with no road map or GPS. You know to head southeast but beyond that, you’re going to have a hard time getting there. The same thing stands true for fitness goals, people need a plan that is based on facts and sound rational.
Once the exercise “the what” is determined, having a comprehensive “how” to execute the exercise properly is equally important. “The how” gets the most out of the exercise. Enter another reason to use a good personal trainer. Ensuring your body moves right is your personal trainer’s job! Understanding how to achieve good form means peeling back the layers of “why”. This is immensely important and a skill to be mastered. It’s also the main reason to seek a well educated personal trainer.
Small tweaks here or there in how people perform exercise will make all the difference in the world. Putting purpose behind training is the most important aspect of achieving a fit and healthy body. After all, we can always replace a poorly running car, but we only get one body.