Sunday, June 28, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Some people just don’t get it.
A lot of us spend a great deal of time hunched over a computer, in a vehicle or slumped on the sofa. Prolonged sitting results in tight hip flexors, hamstrings and stiffness lower back and weak muscles.
In addition, most people that exercise miss the boat.
And this doesn’t have to be that way.
Many people spend the majority of their time running to improve their aerobic conditioning, or lifting weights to build strength. Conventional weight training like bench presses, leg presses, etc. focus on isolating the muscle groups. Unfortunately, this does little to teach your muscles to work together – in a chain of movement. Even worse are those individuals that only focus on cardio and ignore resistance training all together. Talk about setting your joints up for injury…..
Short, burst interval workouts that emphasize multi-direction and multi-muscles are the best way to stay in shape and lose weight. To motivate you to move to a higher level of fitness, you need to recognize that training priorities must incorporate “functionality”.
Functional and Core Training is becoming very popular. Athletes have always been involved in functional training, yet only recently has the general public taken notice.
Functional training is a way that you perform exercises that closely resemble specific movements that you do in daily life or in sport. Functional Training is the principle of improving the strength and power of “MOVEMENTS” - by teaching your muscles to work together.
Functional training discourages the use of machines in favor of simple tools like body-weight exercises, free weights, medicine balls, exercise balls, resistance bands, agility latters, etc.
And one of the best way’s to train your core is by joining a Fitness Bootcamp. It’s no wonder, Bootcamp-style workouts, which were named the most popular workout in 2008 & 2009, and to this day remain a top fitness trend.
Functional Training involves not only your major muscles groups but activates your core stabilizer muscles. This not only improves your strength and mobility but carries over into better posture and control which also helps to prevent injury. Functional training bridges the gap between strength, power and speed by using neurological functions to achieve peak performance.
Functional training emphasizes Core or Stabilization Conditioning. The Trunk or “Core” is the major link in the body’s musculosketal chain that connects the movements between the upper and lower body. Your upper body is supported by your spine, your abdominal muscles and your erector spinae (small band-like muscles of your back). Your abdominal and back musculature’s key function is to exert a muscular force so that spinal and pelvic position can be maintained during varying loads.
Your Core is the power center that allows for dynamic, powerful, coordinated and integrated responses of the whole body. Advantages of effective Functional and Core Training include:
- Development of power and strength
- Faster and quicker actions
- Improved balance and coordination
- Improvement in skill level
- Provides disc nutrition and imbibition
- Reduced change of injury
- Improved Posture
- Prevention of Back Pain
Sorry gang, although it looks great, having a so-called 'six pack' or tight abs does not necessarily mean you have good core strength and stability. Some of the most important core muscles lie underneath the rectus abdominus and along with your small erector muscles of the spine and your oblique muscles which enhance low back health. Unfortunately, doing sit-ups or crunches won’t do much for core strength.
It is very important that you train in exercises that are multi-directional and incorporate all planes of motion. There are three geometrical planes of motion for the human body. The trunk can (1) flex forward and extend back, up and down (Sagittal Plane), (2) flex side to side (Frontal Plane) and (3) rotate about it’s center (Transverse Plane).
Unfortunately most weight-lifting movements focus on only two planes of motion. Functional Training changes this.
In addition to your major muscles, Functional Training works your smaller hidden muscles and your postural muscles including your shoulders, rotator cuffs, knees, and back (cervical and lumbar spine).
As mentioned earlier, a properly run Fitness class is the ideal way to develop you core. The emphasis is on functional exercises using a variety of tools, sequences and ranges of motion that improves pelvic stabilization and a neutral spine.
Here are a number of helpful exercises to strengthen your core:
- Opposite Arm & Leg Raise
- Prone Elbow Plank
- Side Elbow Plank
- Regular Push-up
- Crunches (Trunk Flexion)
- Oblique Crunches
- Prone Trunk Extension
- Supine Bridge on Ball
- Gliding Plank on Exercise Ball
- Kneel on Ball
- One Legged Squat
- Cable/Medicine Ball Woodchops
- One Arm Dumbbel Bench Presses
- Russian Twist with Medicine Ball
- Balancing exercises
- Jiu Jitsu Bridges
- Hanging Knee Raises
By using unsteady surfaces, agility drills, trunk rotational exercises your body ensures kinesthetic body awareness. By involving balance training you can restore or improve the normal function of joints and muscles.
You will experience immediate results once you incorporate Functional training in your exercise routine. This principal focuses on neurological adaptation, emphasizing movement while activating your stabilizer muscles. Your body learns to adapt and skill level will increase, bringing a natural progression of your fitness abilities.
Chance of injury is reduced while burning a lot more calories than either regular aerobic or weight-lifting exercises. In addition, there is a never ending variety that will keep you motivated, challenged and the best of all – having fun!