Functional Training and Your Core

One of the hottest topics in fitness today is Functional Training. Proponents will tell you that isolated movement is out and functional is in. Let’s take a closer look!

Functional training provides the strength, stability, power, mobility, endurance and flexibility you need for everyday activities in your life. We all use basic functional movement patterns everyday, such as pushing, pulling, squatting, rotating, carrying and gait patterns (walking and running). At the center of all these movements is your CORE.

Lots of people use this term but what does it really mean? Some think the core is a sleek six pack, when in fact the abdominals are only a fraction of your core. There are 29 muscles that have attachments within the core area, which is essentially the entire center of your body. Basically, think of your core from your torso down to your hips. These muscles allow functional movement in any direction. Core muscles create a solid base for your body, allowing you to stay upright and stand strong on your two feet.
One of the primary goals in training should be to strengthen the core. Functional vs Isolated movements are simply the vehicle to get the the end result. The benefits of a strong core are many and include:

  1. Reduced Pain and Prevention: A strong core stabilizes you and works like a natural brace for your joints.
  2. Makes You Look Taller and Thinner. When you strengthen your upper back and shoulders, the muscles are pulled back and down, removing any trace of a hunch.
  3. Delays the Aging Process A strong core keeps your body aligned, so that you can function properly.
  4. Improved Performance. Stabilizing your core hones your fine motor skills, so you can react quickly and stay balanced on unstable surfaces.

Functional vs Isolated Core Training
The case can be made that you work more muscles with functional core training than isolated core training such as crunches, and that you work in a larger range of motion utilizing more muscles. Proponents will also tell you that functional training is more beneficial because you are mimicking the activities of daily living. There is certainly some truth to this and any exercise that allows you to work multiple muscles at once is certainly efficient! With people being as busy as they are efficiency in training is certainly attractive. The Abs Company recognizes these benefits and we are proud to have offerings in this space such as the all new X3S Bench and TIREFLIP 180.

It is important to note that before someone embarks on a program designed to incorporate Functional Core Training, it is important that they have a certain level of core strength to begin with. This is where Isolated movements come into play. Exercises like planks, The Vertical Crunch, and The Abs Bench certainly can assist here. These are extremely user friendly and can build some of the foundational strength necessary to succeed in more complex functional movements.

At the end of the day, we believe that there is now and will always be a place for both functional and isolated movement. Strengthening the core is essential to lifetime health and fitness so this end result is really the key that matters. Continuously challenging the body through a variety of exercise types is what keeps you moving forward and keeps you improving. There isn’t a need to chose one over the other. Instead incorporate lots of variety in your training you will build the core strength that will allow you to reach all of your health and fitness goals!