If you’ve spent any time in a gym in the last few years, you’ve likely heard the term “functional fitness.” As the name implies, functional fitness workouts are designed to ready the body for daily activities and build strength that actually serves you in a functional way.
Here at Alloy, we place a strong focus on functional fitness workouts. In fact, we see them as integral tools to help our customers meet their goals and feel stronger, fitter, and more confident.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the format of functional fitness workouts, how they differ from other types of exercises, and why they’re important.
What is Functional Fitness?
Put simply, functional fitness is a kind of strength training.
The exercises within a functional fitness workout prepare the body for the movements it encounters in everyday life: lifting, loading, bending, twisting, hauling, pulling, and squatting, to name a few.
To provide a well-rounded workout, functional fitness activities usually contain multi-joint movement patterns that target areas like the hips, knees, spine, wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
Taken together, these activities build strength, improve mobility and range of motion, and provide a practical workout that helps people avoid injury and improve their quality of life.
The Benefits of Functional Fitness Training
There are many benefits associated with functional fitness training, including the following:
- Better Balance and Stability
Today, almost 40% of older adults experience balance problems. In adults age 65 and older, balance problems are often linked to falls. Fortunately, functional fitness training helps people increase balance and stability and decrease the risk of falls and other balance-related incidents.
- Increased Strength.
Functional fitness builds your overall strength and allows you to build more core stability. Because functional fitness workouts don’t focus on a single muscle group in isolation, they allow you to make your entire body stronger.
- Lower Injury Risk
One of the main purposes of functional fitness is to decrease the risk of injury during everyday life. After all, it’s easy to get injured picking up a squirming grandchild, slipping on the ice, or tripping over a curb. While these activities may not seem dangerous, they can injure small muscles quickly. Fortunately, functional fitness strengthens and targets these muscles, making injury less likely and promoting health and independence for years to come.
- Support Goals
At Alloy, we hear it all the time. Our members used to have something they loved doing, but then an injury got in the way. One of the primary purposes of functional fitness is to support recovery to enable people to get back to the activities they love. Whether a member wants to run or cycle again or go downhill skiing with their kids, functional fitness training programs support those goals and help people return to the things they enjoy.
How Alloy Uses Functional Fitness in Our Training Programs
When a new member joins Alloy, they come in for a Starting Point Session. Usually, members sit down during this session and might tell us about a weight loss goal. That’s typically not the only thing members want to work on, though.
In many cases, they have other goals, which may include moving better, feeling better, or boosting their confidence.
That’s where functional fitness comes in.
At Alloy, we strive to build a holistic functional training program for our members. Some goals of this training program include:
- Building relationships
- Determining the ideal workout frequency and style
- Reframing the goals and expectations of our clients
While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule, when we create the personalized workout programs for each of our clients, we may recommend three days a week of functional strength training workouts in addition to more movement outside the gym, like 30 minutes of walking each day.
We’ve found that this is a good amount of functional fitness for most of our clients and that it helps people reach their goals without overwhelming them.
What Happens During an Alloy Functional Fitness Workout?
During a functional strength training session, our trainers start members off with a warm-up.
We focus on flexibility and mobility, and breaking down tissue in areas where injuries were involved. The sessions usually last about 45-50 minutes, including warm-up.
During the workout, we work the full body instead of focusing on one part or muscle group. That boosts the benefits of the strength training workout and allows the workout to be more efficient. To enhance the functional fitness workout, we use a variety of equipment, including kettlebells, dumbbells, TRX bands, barbells, and bikes.
We do not, however, use machines. And the reason is simple:
You can’t get the workouts you need to perform better in everyday life from machines. There is no machine that prepares you to play a pickleball match or enjoy a game of catch with the kids.
Ultimately, functional training is the only way to extract truly holistic strength training, and to help members become functionally fit, which applies to their life goals and enjoyment of daily activities.
Alloy: Your Go-To For Functional Fitness Workouts
We believe workouts should do more than just beef you up. At Alloy, we prioritize functional fitness so that our members can enjoy the things that count in everyday life: playing with the grandkids, doing the activities they love, and moving through the world without pain.
Designed to strengthen the entire body, improve stability and balance, and reduce the risk of injury, functional fitness workouts focus on the whole person – not just a single muscle group.
If you’re curious to learn more about functional fitness workouts or find out how they could improve your quality of life, find an Alloy location near you today. Our trainers are happy to walk you through the process and help you find a workout that’s right for you!