Functional Training Mistakes in the Gym

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Published: 04th December 2016
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"Functional Training," the ever growing trend statement, is one of many forms of training being utilized in the rising fitness industry. While there are many companies, trainers, and fitness professionals effectively executing this type of training, there are a still a handful of mistakes being made by beginners and untrained professionals. As a reminder, functional training trains your muscles and prepares them for daily tasks by emulating common movements that you perform throughout your normal day activities (work specific, house chores, etc.) as well as any physical activities (such as sports). Below (in no particular order) is a list of 4 fitness training mistakes that I've been witness to:

1. No Clear Objective - Before starting any type of planning (regardless if it's functional or not), you should establish and define a clear set goals you hope to achieve. If you decide to embark on a Functional Training program, one of the first things you should ask yourself is "Functional for What?". Asses your daily routines and acknowledge any improvements you hope to achieve. For example, if you work at a desk all day and notice you shoulders are hurting from constantly bending over for the computer, you would seek to improve your posture to assist alleviating the shoulder pain. Your trainer can then align your personal goals with any additional screenings he may conduct (ie. Functional assessment or a specific PT evaluation).

2. Poor Technique - Just because functional training is used to prep your body to efficiently perform tasks you're already doing, doesn't mean you already know the proper form for those tasks. Even if you're training to carry more grocery bags from your car to your house with greater ease, you must still form a foundation of the skill set needed to perform this task and then begin increasing the reps/weights/etc. appropriately.

3. Poor Programming - There are good trainers and there are bad trainers. Good trainers will construct a program that helps align your functional training goals with achievable results. Sometimes you may not be able to tell which one your trainer is right away but here are some red flags to look out for: Did he/she ask you what your goal is?, Is there a progression plan set up?, Is there some sort of tracking/assessment to align your goals and progressions?, Does he explain the reason for each movement and exercise?, and Is your gut saying he's good or bad?.
Good Trainers will construct a program that helps align your functional fitness goals with achievable results.

4. Lack of Variety- Functional Training doesn't have to be, nor should it be, boring. Add in Multi-planar movements to your workouts. Multi-plane movements work multiple muscle groups at a time and tend to imitate movements that in occur in real life situations more accurately than isolated movements.

Our bodies are designed to move. Functional Training exists because we no longer condition our bodies properly throughout our normal day activities. Keep these 5 Mistakes in mind when you embark on your functional training quest.

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