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Is Your Fitness Functional?
Functional fitness has got to be the biggest buzz word in the fitness industry today. If you google “functional fitness”, the definition according to Wikipedia is, “functional. training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. For me that definition sums it up clearly. Yet, those two words have taken on an entirely different meaning.
The fitness industry is just like any other industry. There is always a trend. Even in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Competitions there are trends. One minute everyone was playing deep half guard, then it was berimbolo etc… So we are now in the era of functional training! The problem is, everyone is tagging functional to marketing campaigns and what not. It has taken on a different meaning.
I feel that people think that if you are doing a compound exercise that it is functional. I don’t agree entirely. I see some people doing the most outlandish stuff ever on Instagram. Then they say how functional it is. I’m thinking, functional for what exactly?? Maybe he thinks because he was working multiple simultaneously that its functional?
Functional for me is mimicking movements you do in everyday life. We walk, squat, lunge, reach, bend over, pic things up, get out of bed, pic up babies, carry babies around etc… But, if you are like me, I train and teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu every day. So, my functional training is a bit different than most people. That is why I developed Kettle-Jitsu.
Functional for me is also teaching your muscles to work together harmoniously. We achieve that in my boot camps with certain exercises that are staples of my curriculum. In almost every class I teach, I include different variations of dead cleans, squats, lunges, presses, rows and dead lifts. I believe those exercises are amongst the most functional for regular everyday people and combat athletes. Functional exercises for combat athletes are, rocking chair, snake move, deck squats, combat cleans, swings, Turkish Get ups, and high pulls etc…
I believe functional also boils down to the piece of equipment you use. I feel that your body, barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are the most functional tools you can use. With those tools you can comfortable, clean, squat, press, lunge, and hinge. If you cannot comfortably do that with something, then for me it’s not that functional. But just because it’s not functional doesn’t mean it’s useless.
Let’s use the Macebell for example. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a long metal pole with a ball attached to it. You can perform compound movements with it. But do they actually mimic anything you do in everyday life? We do not even hold things in our hands in everyday life in the same manner necessary to use a Macebell.
So, if you are truly looking for functional workouts, take a deeper look into the movements. Ask yourself, does this mimic anything that I do every day?
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