One of the first things you may notice when you walk into our studio is a lack of weight lifting machines. The reason for this is simple – we teach functional movements that will increase coordination and mobility while making you stronger and leaner. Weight machines put a strict emphasis on muscle hypertrophy in a fixed, singular jointed movement pattern. By moving away from machines and using our body the way nature intended, we can achieve far greater gains in muscular size, strength and power as well as increasing body awareness, balance, flexibility and stability.
Functional movement by definition is movement based on real-world situational biomechanics. Functional movement training teaches the muscles to work together making everyday activities far easier, from lifting up your children, bending over to tie your shoe or opening a stubborn jar. While designing programs and workouts, we always consider what movements we’re putting into each workout, ensuring we are hitting on your primal movements which include leg extensions (squats/lunges), hip hinges (deadlifts/bridges), pushes (presses), pulls (rows) and twists (woodchops). By including all these movements in some variation ensures that you are getting a full body workout with multi-jointed and multi-planar movements that allow your body to move freely, increasing your proprioception and coordination and most importantly, challenging your core. Traditional weight machines usually require the lifter to sit and move through a very rigid plane of movement, thus omitting any use of the core musculature. Functional movement, on the other hand, is highly dependent on the core. Why is it so important to have a strong core? Without it, you put your entire body at risk of injury. For example, the core determines posture – people who have a sedentary lifestyle usually exhibit postural inadequacies and often have more trouble learning to engage their core. Poor posture leads to a host of different maladies, such as chronic neck and shoulder pain, spinal kyphosis and lordosis. Think of your core as your body’s powerhouse. Force is meant to be generated there and then directed towards the joints in the direction needed for the chosen exercise. When the core is absent, the joints make up for that force production putting them at a high risk of injury.
Remember, the body is a mechanical masterpiece. Your ability to crawl, walk, run, jump and climb is all a product of an amazingly complex set of systems all working together to produce movement. But if you don’t use it, you lose it! Use your body the correct way, treat it right and reap the benefits of a better quality of life!
By Diana Mitchell