TEN YEARS AGO it was extremely rare to be at the gym and find a kettlebell, a suspension trainer or a foam roller. If you happened upon one of these items, you would be hard pressed to find a fitness center in which to use them. Now, almost all fitness studios and chain gyms have eliminated many elliptical and chest machines to make room for functional training
machines – exercise machines that mimic human movement.
Achieving functional fitness is not hard. It involves a simple repertoire of moves that are so effective they’re being used by everyone from Navy SEALs to professional athletes. Functional training is nothing new, but too many “fitness professionals” today still tend to push old-school, single plane machines.
The phrase “train the movement not the muscles” describes the root of functional training. Muscles do not operate in isolation. Think about it: not a single sport requires bicep curls. And daily life never demands a seated hamstring extension. Yet every day fitness goers sit then push and pull then extend, as they perform actions that mimic nothing reflective of natural human movements.
The type of fitness to embrace is one that helps us move better in our daily lives. Simultaneously, we need to focus on training that will reduce the chance of injury. We must focus on fundamental human movement patterns like running, squatting, jumping, standing, pushing and pulling.(Notice that I did not list sitting as a fundamental human pattern.) To achieve true functional fitness (in other words “real overall health”), you will need to work out with compound, multi-jointed movements on multiple planes.
If you can, perform this workout twice through. That gives you a 20-minute workout that gets you off of single-plane machines and into more beneficial, functional and multi-plane movements. You’ll find that your overall health, core strength, flexibility and mobility will be greatly improved by implementing multi-plane, functional movements.