Enhance Your Fitness and Prevent Injuries with Functional Training

Enhance Your Fitness and Prevent Injuries with Functional Training

When it comes to preparing your body for everyday movements and reducing the risk of injuries, you need to focus on functional fitness. Functional fitness exercises are designed to mimic our daily movements, making them easier and pain-free.

Functional fitness workouts combine the best aspects of aerobic and resistance training, focusing on exercises that engage the muscles in response to added resistance or weight. This holistic approach includes a variety of exercise styles such as powerlifting, compound exercises, isolation movements, mobility training, and core work.

By adding these elements into your workout regimen, you can improve exercise technique, proprioception (body awareness), mobility, cardiovascular endurance, and strength.

Benefits of Functional Fitness Workouts

Research has shown that functional fitness exercises improve muscle strength, balance, and mobility, which are crucial for preventing disabilities associated with daily activities as you age. Falls and vehicle accidents are leading causes of injury and mortality in older adults, and functional training plays a significant role in minimizing these risks by enhancing mobility.

Moreover, the noticeable improvements in your movements during functional fitness workouts can boost your motivation levels and keep you engaged in your fitness journey.

Choosing the Right Workout Mix

While functional fitness workouts offer numerous benefits, it’s not necessary for all your workouts to fall under this category. It’s important to enjoy your exercise routine and choose different fitness modalities that align with your interests and motivation levels.

Functional fitness can be efficient and enjoyable, but incorporating other techniques into your regimen is perfectly acceptable. The versatility of these workouts also extends to enhancing your performance in other training styles, making it a win-win situation.

Remember, the goal is to find a workout routine that you enjoy and that aligns with your fitness goals.

A Tabata-Style Functional Fitness Workout

To help you incorporate functional fitness into your routine, here’s a HIIT-style workout that combines various functional exercises that you can do when you’re at Equinox Fitness.

This full-body circuit, consisting of 40 seconds of effort followed by 20 seconds of rest, can be performed a few times a week alongside other modalities you enjoy. You don’t need any equipment, just a mat and a water bottle to stay hydrated.

High Knees to Inchworm

Perform 20 high knees, alternating between knees, bringing them to chest height.

Transition into an inchworm by reaching your arms down to the ground and walking your hands out into a high plank position.

Walk your hands back to your feet and return to the high knees for the remaining working time.

Repeat the high knees and inchworms for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Wide Mountain Climbers

Begin in a high plank position with your palms directly under your shoulders.

Bring one foot to the outside of the same hand, then return the leg to the starting position.

Alternate legs while maintaining a quick pace and engaged core.

Continue for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Lateral Lunge and Hop

Shift your weight to one leg and take a large step out to the side with the other leg, bending at the knee and sitting your hips back while keeping your chest lifted.

Squeeze your glutes and push through the foot of the bent leg to drive back to the center while lifting the opposite knee to hip height, hopping off the ground.

Alternate sides with each repetition.

Continue for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Plank Diagonal Reach

Start in a forearm plank position with your shoulders stacked over your elbows and your body in a straight line from head to feet.

Keep your core stable while reaching one arm out at a 45-degree angle, hovering above the ground.

Simultaneously step the opposite leg out to the side at a 45-degree angle, creating a diagonal line with your arm and leg.

Return your arm and leg to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Continue alternating for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Fast Feet Sprawl

Lower your body into a half-squat position with your feet hip-width apart and knees bent.

Lift onto the balls of your feet and start running as fast as possible, tapping both feet quickly on the floor without fully coming back to a standing position.

After a few seconds, drop your hands to the ground and jump both feet back to a high plank position.

Release your hands from the mat and jump your torso forward, returning to the half-squat position.

Continue for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Frog Squat

Begin with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and angled slightly outward.

Push your hips back while bending at the knees into a squat position.

Place your elbows on the insides of both knees, press your palms together, and keep your back flat.

Lower your hips until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs, then drive your hips up so that your legs are almost straight while maintaining a flat back and aligned hips and shoulders.

Repeat the squat to hinge movement without raising your torso.

Continue for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Hip Thrusters

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands placed on the floor.

Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips while engaging your core.

Pause at the top before lowering your hips back to the floor.

Continue for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Bicycle Crunches

Start by lying on your back with your legs in a tabletop position, knees bent directly over your hips.

Brace your core, place your hands behind your head, and take opposite elbow to the opposite knee while extending the other leg forward.

Alternate legs while keeping your core tight and your neck relaxed.

Continue for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

Single-Leg Deadlift

Begin standing and shift your weight to your left leg, which should be straight with a slight bend in the knee.

Start to send your right foot back, keeping the leg straight and hips square to the ground.

Simultaneously hinge at the waist, tipping your torso forward until it’s almost parallel to the floor.

At the bottom of the position, your body should be aligned from head to back foot.

Press through your hamstrings and glutes to return to the standing position.

Repeat on the other leg.

Continue for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second rest.

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