I get it. My muscles, my ‘workout face,’ the fact that my Raw Functional Training puts even Chris Hemsworth through his paces: If you’re a woman, you might take one look and think this ‘functional training’ isn’t for you.
But that’s where you’re wrong. These moves benefit everyone. Functional exercises enhance the way we perform everyday activities by mimicking their movement patterns. For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it mimics the movement of sitting down and standing up.
Whatever your fitness goal, here are five reasons you need to make functional training part of your life.
1. It’s the perfect workout (trust me)
If you’ve been steering clear of functional training, you’re missing out on one of the best high-intensity workouts possible. Just because I’m a big guy doesn’t mean my workouts will force you to bulk up – you have to really try to get these muscles! With a mix of strength and cardio, you can improve fitness and promote overall body conditioning and weight loss. Plus, because my workouts are mostly no-equipment and use bodyweight, you can do them anywhere at any time.
2. Everyday lifting gets easy
Women need to be strong! Creating lean muscle mass is not just about toning physique: it gives you the everyday independence to get things done yourself – faster, better and more easily.
Whether you’re moving house or just grabbing groceries, you’re lifting. That engages your arms, core, back, even your quads and hips when you’re leaning down. If you’re just hitting pure cardio for weight loss, you aren’t building the strength you need here.
If you’ve got kids, chances are they’re going to need to be picked up from time to time. Sure, sandbag moves build the arm strength I need for toddler carrying, but there’s also the increased hip mobility and quad strength I get from Hostages, which help me lift him into his car seat, and those Ballistic Pulses make carrying him on my back a breeze.
3. You can go from klutz to coordinated
Unlike exercises purely for fat burning or muscle toning, functional exercises work supporting muscle groups as well as the main muscle groups. This increases the range of motion throughout the body. Generally, the more joints, movements and speed you’re putting into an action, the more coordination you need to pull it off.
It’s practice for every day. Think I just do Switches for fun? OK, I think they’re fun, but also when my toddler starts throwing baby food at me I’m pretty grateful I’m coordinated enough to dodge it.
You need these skills any time you’re trying to move with ease and control, like reaching for things and or getting up and down off the ground to play with kids. Even reacting to sudden situations like loose stones on a hiking trail or an uneven sidewalk in heels, mobility and muscle coordination make the difference between staying upright or falling flat on your face.
Tone, strengthen, fat-burn, improve mobility. Is there anything Hostages can't do?
4. You’ll protect yourself from injury
Strong muscles aren’t just there for heavy lifting: they also protect joints, tendons and ligaments from overwork and potential injury. Also, as people grow older their bone density decreases (especially women), mobility decreases and joints and tendons start to take the burden of all movements. If you’ve got strong, well-functioning muscles, this is less of an issue.
Functional training mimics everyday activity, strengthening the muscles you use every day and helping to reduce the chance of injury. All of my moves together are geared towards building a better body, but if you’re concerned about high-impact moves, Crawls and Crawl Holds work to strengthen the muscles around your joints in a lower-impact way than jumps and Switches.
5. You can become a core-strength powerhouse
Because my exercises are dynamic compound moves, they work multiple muscles all at once – including your core. If you’re focused on perfect form in a Sit-thru, you’re actively stabilizing your core as you complete the movement. Your arms and legs move but it’s a strong core holding it all together.
Having a strong core is more than just flat abs. It helps to improve posture, protect the spine and lower back and work against the problems of a sedentary lifestyle. Now that’s real inner strength!
Functional training expert Da Rulk trains superheroes: Navy SEALs, fire fighters, law enforcement… and Chris Hemsworth. A certified strength and conditioning specialist with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, he is the creator of Raw Functional Training (RFT), a revolutionary approach to movement. He’s the trainer you’ll love to hate, who will transform the way you move.
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