Physical Therapy; Functional Training
When you have been around the health industry for even a little while, you start to notice that we love our buzz words. They’re catchy, and honestly we all need something to get us off the couch!
Today I wanted to talk about one of the biggest buzz words in therapy, sport, and fitness field: Functional Training. It’s a really cool sounding name that could mean a whole lot or very little depending on your goals. So what is it?
The concept is simple: we’ve learned that your muscles often work best when they’re trained in movements that mimic the one one’s you do in real life. The impact this can have on athletes is straightforward : a boxer spends a lot of their time learning a channel a punch from the ground up by rotating their body as a unit in a quick burst. They will get a lot more out of an explosive core rotation exercise than a crunch, because we are training their body in the same movement pattern they use in the sport. Similarly, dosing repetitions and loading to match your demands means just as much: endurance athletes are often served well by lower to moderate loading, but high repetition activities. Athletes that rely on short bursts of power, like a center in football, would gain a lot more from an activity that actively demands that kind of raw power, the list goes on.
Functional Training doesn’t have to be exclusive to elite athletes either! The things we do day in and day out at jobs, from lifting boxes to just sitting at your computer with better posture, can be targeted more specifically with the right exercises and dosing. It is a simple concept with a lot of complexity that can really bring some variety to your routine while getting you some faster results. Something as small as rolling over in the bed or standing out of a chair can be difficult for some people, and specific, functional exercises can be both a useful and fun tool to add into your day to make anything easier!
If you’re not sure where to get started, the best thing you can do is ask! Therapists and trainers spend a kit if tune analyzing movement, so odds are we have something up our sleeves to get you going on the right track.
~Alec Martinez, DPT, PT
Hohman Rehab and Sports Therapy