“Functional Training” might be an overused term in fitness. Some think it involves balancing on a stability ball on one leg while juggling knives.
Not saying that wouldn’t look cool though!
Strength & Conditioning coach Michael Boyle simplified Functional Training to mean training that makes sense. I would just add: training that makes sense to the goals you are trying to achieve.
It always comes down to what YOU want, doesn’t it? At Wah Lum and at Control Your Health, our goal is to help you achieve your goals without injury.
When you train, performance enhancement should come second to injury prevention.
A good strength & conditioning program will be very similar to an injury prevention program or even a rehabilitation program. Your training (strength, Kung Fu, Tai Chi) should also make you better instead of broken.
How’s an injury going to help you achieve your goals?
Chiropractor and movement specialist, Dr. Andreo Spina uses the following equation to make the point of why injuries happen.
LOAD > CAPACITY = INJURY
Does putting a ton of weight on your back to squat (while having to wrap the knees and having two spotters) enhance your ability to do your activity, or did you just inflate your ego (along with herniating a disc)?
Depending on your goals, a basic fitness training program may only need to develop strength in upper body pulling, upper body pressing, the lower body, and the core.
To train safely, don’t load your tissues more than their capacity!
I’m a big fan of improving strength. Improving strength develops power, and since we produce most of our power without both feet firmly planted on the ground, lower body training should consist of a lot of single legwork (i.e., single leg deadlifts, split squats, and single leg squats).
Or for you martial artists, think of single leg stances, kicking, balancing, transitioning from one move to the next…
This type of training makes sense and has safety features built into it. The biggest safety feature being, if you can’t do it, you can’t do it!
You also start off with body weight to give the tissues time to adapt.
A basic single leg exercise is the Split Squat or in kung fu we call it Kneeling Horse Stance.
Here’s how to do it: