Are traditional gym exercises doing you harm?

Have you been going to the gym for many years, completing the same traditional based exercises, bench press, leg press, large machine weights, which specifically focus on one area of the body? Does this type of exercises challenge your overall ability? I’d say no. However, there’s a new training program in the fitness industry, known as functional exercise. There’s a big difference with its benefits compared to traditional gym training. See below how functional exercise can help you.

Isolated exercises
Traditional exercises are regularly completed in isolation (focusing on one muscle group only). Functional exercises are completed using compound (whole body) exercises that focus on moving during an exercise, rather than staying in a stationary position.

Traditional exercises have a bias towards stabilizing the body from external supporting structures (which don’t allow for stability of the spine). Functional training challenges our internal stability thus creating stability of the spine, pelvis and hip.

Everyday activities
Traditional exercises do not mimic anything relating to normal everyday or sporting activities (picking up items or starting the lawn mower). How often do you push or pull something from a lying and sitting position? Functional exercises support and challenge normal and sporting activities that are often completed on a regular basis.

No cross motion
Traditional exercises rarely challenge trunk rotation or movements across the body. Major of these exercises are completed moving in a forwards and backwards motion. For example think of a bench press, where you lay on your back and move a large bar in an ‘upwards and downwards’ motion. Functional exercises will challenge the opposite and force you to complete your exercises with a controlled trunk rotation or challenge movements across the body from a variety of angles.

Traditional exercises rarely focus or challenge your proprioceptive ability (balance), with these exercises usually being completed in a sitting or stabilized position. Functional exercises force you to complete an exercise in a variety of positions, ranging from balance boards to squat/ lunge positions. There are 1000’s of functional positions an exercise can be completed and challenged in.

Co-ordination/ concentration
Traditional exercises never require you to think. Basically when you go to the gym it’s moving in the same way you have always done. There’s no co-ordination or concentration required. Functional exercises force you to utilize multiple muscle groups, which require co-ordination and concentration to ensure the exercises is completed safely and correctly.

Overall functional training should be utilised by many individuals as it mimics many of the activities we complete every day and allows for stabilization of your low back, pelvis and hips. If your wanting to find out more contact Central Physio Bayswater and see how we can design a functional exercise program for you.

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