Posts Tagged ‘balance’

A Healthy and Functional YOU!!!

Monday, May 18th, 2009

A few posts ago we talked about how in our East Grand Rapids studio, we were doing lots of functional training with a client. We did treadmill hill climbs with his backpack on in order to get him ready for a hiking trip. Well, he is now on that hiking trip, and in his absence I thought I would offer a few ideas on how the rest of us can incorporate more functional training into our everyday workout routine.

When you isolate body parts, as you sometimes do with traditional strength training, you end up training your muscles but not your movements. One way to change that is to look for ways to make your strength exercises more functional:

  • Incorporate free weights: Machines have a place in strength training, but they offer so much support that the body doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain balance and good form. In real life, we don’t have that kind of support. Using dumbbells, bands or cables forces your body to create it’s own support, which leads to a stronger body overall.
  • Use a stability ball: Doing some exercises on a ball, such as chest presses or pushups involves more stabilizers, the muscles that work to protect joints and maintain alignment.
  • Combine movements: We usually do a combination of motions throughout the day. We lunge forward to open a door and then rotate while stepping through. Combining strength exercises together, like lunging forward with a reach or squatting with an overhead press can mimic this dynamic way of moving.
  • Try unilateral exercises: Doing one-legged squats or using one arm at a time for moves like flies or chest presses forces your core to engage as well as your stabilizers, making these moves more functional and challenging.

Just a few ideas on how you can make your training more effective and funtional for everyday life.

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Going Functional in Grand Rapids

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

By: Brian Dokter

Manager, CoachMeFit Grand Rapids

“Functional training” is considered training that prepares the body for the actual demands of every day life. Well, when your everyday life is about to get more extreme, then your idea of “functional training” should follow. In Grand Rapids we recently adjusted the training of one of our clients to meet the needs of a missions trip he is heading on, and it is getting very “functional”.

Our client is heading on a trip to Burma to live the the life of a photo journalist that he supports. He is going to be hiking in the Burmese mountains to provide aid to locals, as well as to help his friend who through the lens of his camera, exposes the genocide that takes place there.  Needless to say, but there are certain people who don’t appreciate his presence, and there are times that swift action and movement is necessary, and it has to be done in very extreme mountain conditions, with 40-50 lbs. on your shoulders.

Since starting with CoachMeFit, our client has lost 30lbs and has improved his overall fitness greatly, but now his life could depend on that level of fitness. Let’s just say he has an increased level of motivation. And we are training him in conditions as similar to the demands he is about to endure.

Every warm up and cool-down periods on the treadmill and elliptical is done with a backpack with 35lbs. in it. He has been doing many single leg exercises to help improve his balance and strength. We also do lots of negative work on the stairs to simulate downhill climbing. Our cardio sessions on the treadmill involve the backpack with large amounts of weight and steep hill climbs.

He has loved the change and variety in his day to day workouts, but he really enjoys the confidence and strength he is building knowing that he will be prepared for the demands of his coming missions trip.

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