One of my greatest desires is to age gracefully and still be able to perform normal day-to-day tasks. I want to be able to do normal things like walking, bending, going up stairs, hiking without much difficulty, and avoiding injury – even in my old age.
You probably want the same thing, but unfortunately, the modern lifestyle is a huge obstacle to aging well. Most of us spend our time sitting and inactive.
Did you know there’s a way to train for better? Most often, when we hear the word training we think of going to the gym, running like the athletes, bodybuilding, and things like that. Rarely do we think of how we can incorporate training in our day to day life.
Functional strength training refers to training that imitates closely the specific functional demands of day to day life activities. This kind of training enhances coordination between the nervous and the muscular systems.
It simply involves working against resistance to improve core stability, strength, and movement. This kind of training works majorly on the shoulders, the core and the legs, which normally degenerates fast as age catches up with us.
As I earlier mentioned my greatest desire is to age gracefully. And I am certain that, you also desire the same thing. In this article, I’m sharing with you a few tips on some of the exercises you can incorporate in your daily routine as part of functional strength training.
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Functional Strength Training
Below are examples of functional strength training you can add to your normal workout routine.
The jump squat is an easy exercise you can do at home, and it doesn’t require any equipment. Jump squats, unlike other kinds of squats, work on both your upper and lower body strength. They also help in burning calories. As you do jump squats, your ankles and hips gain flexibility, which prevents you from getting injured when performing other exercises.
Just in case you have not tried doing jump squats, you can start out doing 2 to 3 jumps for 3 to 5 repetitions as part of your functional strength training. Eventually, you’ll get used to them and progress to doing more jump squats in a set.
One Arm Kettlebell snatch
Do you want to build core strength and stability and also work on the muscles at your hips? Then you should try out the one arm kettlebell snatch. All you need is a kettlebell.
This move will help you improve your strength, coordination, and also endurance. The exercise might be a bit challenging if you are a first-timer, but as you practice, you will realize that it is not so bad.
As you consider adding this exercise to your functional strength training, it is important to note that high repetitions without rest periods can be stressful to your joints, and may cause injuries.
Pushup with an opposite arm and leg raise
Pushups are one of the most effective exercises you can use to strengthen your core. If it’s too easy or monotonous doing regular pushups, you can modify it with variations like the pushup with an opposite arm and leg raise.
This is where you do a normal pushup, then you raise one hand towards the sky, along with the opposite leg, hold for 5 seconds, and return to the normal pushup position before repeating on the other side.
This exercise is a modified form of the normal push up to help build your shoulder, hip, and arm strength. As a beginner, you can add these to your normal functional strength training. You can start by doing 4 pushups in for 2 to 3 repetitions as you progress.
Farmer’s walk is a kind of exercise that activates nearly all the body muscles. It involves walking forward while carrying a heavy load by the sides. This exercise is simple and easy and you reap great benefits if you do it properly and consistently.
It works by tightening and strengthening your core. It also strengthens your grip working on your wrists, hands, and forearms. When done right, it helps straighten your upper back and shoulders.
This exercise can be part of your normal functional strength training. All you need to do is put two weights at your sides – typically, these could be kettlebells, weight plates, dumbbells, or anything with weight that you can carry.
All you have to do is lift the weight on each side and take small steps moving forward. Keep your back straight to avoid any injuries.
The man maker is an all-in-one kind of exercise. It works your whole body and builds muscles, especially the middle back, triceps, and biceps. The only equipment you need is a dumbbell and your own body.
Start by positioning yourself in a pushup position, while holding onto your dumbbells, then lower your chest to the ground. Lift one arm to the elbow, then do the other arm.
Once you have done that, get up and do a squat with the dumbbells held close to your chest, then stand up and lift the dumbbells straight overhead into full arm extension.
To finish it up, bring the weights back to your shoulder, then squat down to return the dumbbells to the floor. Repeat.
You can add a man maker to your functional strength training and see how fast you can build your muscle and strength. Start slowly until you build up momentum.
From the above article, it is clear that functional strength training is key when it comes to improving core stability, strength, and mobility. The best aspect of this kind of training is that it replicates and helps in activities that you undertake daily.
It also does not require you to attend the gym, as you can easily do these exercises at home. You just need to push yourself and think of all the benefits you stand to gain as you plan to add them to your routine. Consistency is key for maximum results. Good luck!