Functional training to improve your performance

Over the past few years, we’ve noticed that more and more people are getting engaged in functional training while some other workout enthusiast squabble about how this training may work on your body. The rationale of this article is to let people know what the real functional training is and what it does and what it does not. But before anything else, I will discuss first what functional training really is.

The definition of functional training according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE),

“Functional training involves performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual’s activities of daily living are easier to perform. Simply stated, the primary goal of functional training is to transfer the improvements in strength achieved in one movement to enhancing the performance of another movement by affecting the entire neuromuscular system.”

Wikipedia describes it as,

“Functional training is a classification of exercise  which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life.”

Lastly, according to the health and fitness website MayoClinic.com ,

“Functional training or functional fitness exercise trains your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports.” 

So, based on the definitions stated, we can therefore conclude as to what functional training is. Various responses and answers depending on whom you’ll ask, as to what functional training really is. Human movements are composed of a range of different functions. It cannot come to pass without the help of the muscles. Experts in this training often use a medicine ball, free-weights, and bands in an effort of conditioning the body especially on uneven setting. Regardless of any individual’s fitness goal, mimicking a specific skill or activity is the most effective way to train according to the experts.

Reasons that Can Affect Our Performance in Training

You must have a good knowledge of what really can affect your performance and make the most of it. These factors that greatly affect your performance are: power, agility cardiovascular conditioning, as well as your respiratory capacity, skills in sports like coordination and competence and lastly, genetic prospective.

Let’s go a bit deeper on those factors so we can determine which training method is applicable to deliver good results.

Power

It can be increased in three ways by: strength, speed and distance (flexibility, ROM). High intensity training is the most effective and safe approach to increase strength or force (but not one set each exercise). For me, it is like you train up to muscular failure with a short and occasional workout routine, in which all the prescribed exercise is based on goals, fitness levels, age, personal preference and past workout history of an individual.

Strength

Increasing muscle strength and mass is the main purpose of strength training and NOT for training a specific skill! Many studies have shown that the neurological effect of our skills is not the best UNLESS it is built from PRACTICE. It’s different from focusing on building your strength and practice like what you usually do in your chosen sport or competition.

Speed

Some increase of speed is important to improve your power. It is chiefly predetermined by a person’s genetic composition. But it doesn’t mean if you don’t, you can no longer build speed, by practicing it exactly, it will make sense! Mental focus will help improving your skill; give you faster result and optimum performance.

Flexibility

A full range of motion will not just increase your flexibility; it may mean increasing your distance that applied which results to increasing your power as well!

Agility

Another to improve your performance is through enhancing your agility. The drills should be precise to what the activity or competition is. For example, a basketball player needs to work on his performance like jumping high, so you should be practicing the actual jumping from the floor to increase his performance in doing that.

Conditioning (cardiovascular and respiratory)

Another important factor in increasing your greatest performance on what specific field of career or sports or competition you are joining. A strong heart and lungs will then give you the best performance you can ever imagine. It should be specific on improving and conditioning an individual’s metabolic properties depending on the goals. For example, if a tennis player is training to improve his or her performance then you have to choose a slow to moderate pace and include high intensity interval training for over all optimum performance.

Skills on a specific sport

This is one of the most confusing among athletes and even for coaches and trainers as skills and strength level of an individual are two different things and should be trained independently following different methods as well. Again, you need to practice exactly according to the competition you are joining. Based on studies, experts believed that in order to achieve the best performance, the individual should train their movement and skill like there will be endless hours of practicing to get it perfectly done. Practice improving the accuracy, speed, and technique.

Genetic prospective

One of the greatest factors in improving your performance is the genetic potential and a lot of people may have failed to notice it. For me, I think this greatly affects human performance regardless of what methods you use. You can train as long as you can and your body will adapt to it, but we can’t change the fact that our body has its own capabilities and limits when it comes to that, and some are not designed to excel with what others are quite very good at. I didn’t mean that you cannot improve your performance; what I’m saying is that you don’t have to drastically over train your body in an attempt to get the best performance that are unrealistic. The end result will be not good or you’ll just injure yourself. Utilize what’s more effective method, set realistic goals and work hard to achieve it!

Functional training has a lot of benefits to improve your performance and keep in mind that a training for strength and training for skill are two different things and before trying to get involve here, try to ask yourself this questions first: What are my goals? Is it safe? Will it bring me the optimal result I’m looking for?

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