So beleive it or not even some so called exercise professionals dont know what functional training is, recently some fella was gobbing off saying that functional training is dancing around a gym using swiss balls and that Crossfit is dangerous.
However this is not functional training - not sure exactly what it is?
The modern thinking of functional training is all about getting yourself fit in order to carry out your normal life a little easier. So lots of varied big compound exercises with heavy weight doing different stuff always. Often using big Olympic weights to strengthen the entire body and improve core strength in order to provide a stronger spine.
Some people specialise in one aspect of fitness and thats cool for them, but its not all round fitness. The legend Mo Farrah is a great example of a specialist, unbelievably good runner but absolutely no strength, which was displayed at the Olympics after winning a couple of Gold medals he never had the upper body strength to pick his own daughter up. Functional training and Crossfit style sessions work all aspects of fitness to ensure a complete approach to fitness.
What could functional strength improve in your normal life:
- Carrying your child to bed
- moving boxes around the house or garage
- bumping your car when the battery fails
- pushing a pram up a hilll or carrying shopping home
This picture is functionally fit
Well ofcourse it is, and people do get injured and i am afraid that’s part and parcel of training. People who have been heavily involved in any sort of fitness or sport end up having loads of injuries, i can vouch for that. I could also conceed that Crossfit allow too many inexperienced coaches to coach Crossfit classes and that in my opinion is a bit of an issue.
Do more people get injured doing Crossfit than doing cardio or classes? I would hope so as slow cardio on the hamster wheel, or aerobics just doesn’t provide the results that a Crossfit workout does. Throwing around very heavy weights and jumping onto a 20 inch box is definately more risky than slow jogging or using a stepper.
What most people dont realise is that Crossfit is very similar to conjugated training which has been has also been used for a long time to condition sports teams and individuals, just varied tough exercise.
Every class or WOD result is recorded, talk about fitness testing, most Personal Trainers do this the odd time with their clients and most gyms never fitness test.
However a little risk is brilliant, lets not wrap ourselves in cotton wool and this is why......
There is a little scale sometimes know as the catastrophe scale or performance curve, and it goes like this: comfort zone (not learning or developing) then stretch zone (a little scared but developing fast) and then panic zone (too scared and confidence will probably regress badly).
Most people spend their lives in their comfort zone and dont achieve anything hard or try anything hard and therfore never fail. These people are scared of everything and try nothing!
Its better to spend a lot of time each day in stretch where it is tough, you may feel uncomfortable, threatened but the beauty is you are always learning fast and developing as a person. Eventually your comfort zone is huge and nothing scares you, you are a well rounded fearless MO FO.
When in Panic your learning stops and you frighten yourself so bad your comfort zone may get smaller and you will probably never try the activity again.
We could say that slow cardio on the treadmill is living your life in your comfort zone. We could also say that trying every hard exercise and not being scared of trying new things is living your life in your stretch zone.......BOOM AWESOME!!
I also think if you are getting worried about getting injured on an exercise class you might aswell sign yoiurself into the old peoples home and give up on life.
Crossfit is as dangerous as it should be!
Functional training is to help you become better at life!
Please live your life in stretch!
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Glenn Stretch Hill