Why Try Functional Strength Training?

The gym has been one place that has been most visited in recent times. For the modern generation, temples and churches have given way to the gym. While all this is great, there has been a general tendency of the masses to consider a flat belly (read six packs) and overly bulging biceps as the mark of true health. This is far from the truth.

Such bodies might have the visual appeal, but do they have the tenacity to withstand pressure? Can they last when asked to ramp up outside the confines of the air conditioned gym? Simple answer, No.  This is where the concept of functional strength comes into the picture.

So what exactly is functional strength? The concept of functional strength is very specific in nature.  It is the targeting of those muscle areas and doing those movements that are of daily nature for the person. One might argue that such a regimen cannot match the total body workout that gym training can provide. But, there is a counter argument to it. The fact that there are some basic movements which have to be done by all strengthens the case for functional strength.

So what are those basic movements?  Those are push, pull, throw, lift & sprint and these are the ones for which we are going to provide ideas that don’t require a gym.

1. Push: Since we are going to look for natural environments to improve, the push variant of functional strength can be accomplished can be achieved using a variety of tasks like pushing a large tyre, a heavybag lying on the floor or your very own car. Since the act requires a large amount of strength it is best to start with lighter objects like a small tyre.

As you gain in strength you can look forward to pushing heavier objects. The important thing is to take deep breathes. The activity should be done in push-breathe-push pattern so as to not exhaust yourself.

2. Pull: This movement can be done with the help of a rope. Tying one end of the rope to yourself and the other to a tyre and running on sand or plain ground can do wonders to your functional strength. You can also try pulling it with your bare hands. If you are just kicking of this regimen, then resistance bands can be a great tool. Chop and change things a bit, try newer versions. This will mean that the body doesn’t settle into a set pattern.

3. Throw: This activity is highly undermined. Having strong shoulders is good, but what’s the use if you don’t use them properly. Throwing isn’t an activity that is done often, which means when the time comes you are more than likely to injure your shoulder muscles due to inactivity. The best way to kick the rust out is keep throwing regularly. Put on your baseball glove and try a throw and catch game with a friend of yours. Remember that game where tried to bounce pebbles on the surface of the lake? You can do that too. Caution: Just don’t overdo it and try not to hit anyone.

4. Lift: Let me clear this first, we are not asking you to become the world strongman here. For general lifting action Kettlebells can be of great use. But, sticking to day to day things can be equally good. You can try lifting bucket full of water (decide the quantity appropriately) and putting them down. This action can be repeated according to one’s capacity. Cement bags also form a great alternative.

5. Sprint: Another aspect that is usually done in the gym. It can also be done at home or outside. Sprinting up and down the stairs by adding ankle weights can boost athletic capacity. It can also be a great cardio alternative. For those who live in a house devoid of stairs, running uphill can be an option.

While working out in the gym is great, adding a dash of natural surroundings to your routine can benefit you greatly. We ask you to add this to your routine, experience the difference and let us know.

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Krupesh Padave (KP) has a flair for writing and his favorite hobbies include reading and listening to music. An adventure junkie, he wants to go globe trotting after gaining sufficiently deep pockets.

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