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The Importance of Functional Training

When one thinks of a gym environment, the first thing that may come to mind are barbells, dumbbells, machines, and benches. People have the tendency to equate gym goers to the average body builder or cardio diva. In modern society, someone who has achieved a body builder’s physique is usually perceived as a person who is at the pinnacle of fitness. However, that is usually not the case. It is common knowledge that consuming illegal performance enhancing substances such as steroids or supplements that can alter your hormones and body chemistry, are very detrimental for your health. Although this is a well-known fact, the way that most gym goers and muscle bound individuals train is also harmful to the body.

Yes, any exercise is better than no exercise. But, functional exercise is way better for your health than traditional weight lifting. A study published by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine and conducted by Stromback et al. assessed a group of Swedish subelite powerlifters; 53 females and 51 males. They were given a questionnaire based on how they train and what their lifestyle looks like. The questionnaire investigated on questions about injuries related to their sport. According to the study, 70% of the powerlifting athletes were currently injured because of their sport, and 83% of the athletes had acquired an injury from their sport within the past year that the study was conducted. Both genders experienced shoulder, lower back, and hip injuries. According to the study, 16% of these athletes had to completely stop training because of their injuries. Alcohol consumption was the only factor outside of these athletes general training regimen that contributed to these injuries.

Obviously not every person that goes to the gym is trying to become a body builder or a power lifter. But one has to think about what their goals are and who do they learn from. Most people go to the gym to look more aesthetically pleasing, while others go to set high weight lifting goals. Which is technically what the sports of body building and power lifting are all about. That being said, people who become pro-body builders and pro-weight lifters are the people that most gym goers look up to. If one wants to live a life of longevity and consistent movement throughout their lives, then functional training may be a smarter choice for them.

Another study published in the National Library of Medicine and conducted by Donald L Gross et al. proves how functional training became a perfect rehabilitation and training program for soldiers who were injured or laid off from duty for a long time. The soldiers were placed in a 6 week functional training program. The study proves that all the soldiers that participated in the program significantly improved upon their athletic performance.

Functional training is defined as a type of exercise that trains the body for realistic activities, circumstances, and situations. In simpler terms, functional training is training that improves a person’s survival. This type of training can be categorized as balance training, mobility training, functional strength and conditioning, body weight training, plyometrics training, speed training, and agility training. With this knowledge, one should ask themselves two questions. 1) Would they prefer to become buff and strong for a temporary period of time before their muscles and joints break down? 2) Would they prefer to be able to move healthily and freely throughout their entire lives?

At Slak CLE, we specialize in all forms of functional training. We want our athletes and clients to succeed as much as possible. Our part in the success of our athletes and clients is building the perfect training programs for each individual. Through our studies, research, and experiences, we have learned that functional training is the ultimate best kind of training that will produce desired fitness results. No matter what the desired outcome of the individual is, aesthetics, athletic performance, or pain rehabilitation, there is always a way to train functionally.

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