Wondering what moves to master to improve your core function and gain an edge in that running competition? Or looking for a way to boost your balance so that playtime with the grandchildren is painless, and they’re impressed with your agility?

Find the answer in Functional Training (FT), which can help adults across all ages improve movement efficiency. A form of exercise that uses basic functional movement patterns like pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, rotating, carrying and gait patterns (walking and running), FT provides the strength, stability, power, mobility, endurance and flexibility that one needs to thrive in life and in sport.

Functional strength goes beyond the point where other fitness programmes fall short. Here are four reasons why it should be part of your regimen:

It gives you real strength

Functional fitness training not only makes you look athletic, it actually makes you an athlete. It helps you develop speed, agility, reaction time, real (not cosmetic) strength and muscle endurance. It’s also a really fun way to train.

It’s a full body movement

All sports involve activity in three planes of motion. They are — frontal movements, which involve bending to the left and right side (lateral flexion), sagittal movements, where the trunk moves forward and backward (up and down movements of flexion and extension) and transverse movements, which involve twisting to the left and right (rotation).

Isolation and non-specific exercises usually involve one or two planes of motion. (Weight training, for instance, is on a mostly sagittal plane.) However experts say for optimum performance, these three planes of movement should be addressed as integrated rather than isolated, each one complementing the other in a “kinetic chain”.

That’s where functional fitness scores – its training movements are dynamic on all three planes (sagital, frontal and tranverse). Take a popular functional fitness exercise called the Chop and Lift. It is a multi-planar exercise that requires diagonal and spiral motions of the arms, shoulders, trunk, hips, and legs.

It’s great for fat loss

Functional fitness training is the best form of exercise for losing weight as it’s the most active form of exercise. None of the movements are supported ie there is no lying down or sitting and exercising or use of machines, where the body is utilized in compartments.

Working the body as one unit is key to losing fat. After all, the more you move, the more you will be able to move.

It can help prevent injuries

Your core is the key to good balance, stability and posture. Even the most basic activities – sitting at the table to changing your clothes – rely on your core. Core stability is the foundation of all basic movements. Functional fitness exercises help develop your body’s ability to stabilize and generate power from your core to make you stronger, thereby reducing your risk of injury and falls.

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Written by Shaik Moyeenuddin

Shaik Moyeenuddin

A fitness enthusiast from a young age, Shaik Moyeenuddin was so inspired by workouts that the former MBA decided that crunches had to become his career. An ACE-certified fitness specialist, he is also a Body Transformation Specialist certified by Physique Elite and regular contributor to publications like Stayfit, Fitness Guru, Pulse and Posedownmag.com. He believes his productivity has gone up along with his push-up count, and says he feels “younger, smarter and more confident” than ever at this stage in his life. Calling himself more a coach than trainer, his goal is to inspire HealthifyMe users to appreciate how fitness can be a transforming experience. Trainer to CEOs and politicians today, Shaik evaluates fitness levels based on a client’s approach to life, lifestyle and strength, for which he tests their muscle endurance, core strength, agility, speed, cardio-vascular strength and balance. His advice to fitness buffs? Eat healthy and don’t tie yourself to targets, enjoy your workout instead.

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