Featured__ Everything You Need To Know About Functional Fitness

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Being able to do endless pull-ups and perform well in the gym is awesome, but how are you actually going to use that fitness? Can you run to catch a train or pick up a couch? Or manage all of your grocery bags?

Functional fitness is the idea that the exercises you do in the gym should train your muscles and prepare them for daily tasks. It works your upper and lower body at the same time as well as emphasizing core stability, which of course is vital to your daily life.

What Is It?
Functional fitness includes all kinds of moves, from squats to step-ups. The idea is that each move should train your muscles to work together like they would in normal tasks you perform at home, at work or in sports.

Lots of people can leg-press 200 or more pounds, but they can’t do a one-legged squat without losing their balance and falling over. Your workouts should be helping you function better and improving your life, since that’s the point of working out in the first place.

Why Should You Do It?
Functional fitness makes things you do every day – like getting up off of the floor or carrying in groceries from the car – a whole lot easier. Instead of exercises that isolate small, specific muscles like biceps, functional fitness works tons of big muscle groups at the same time.

It also means less injury risk. You won’t have to worry about hurting your back when you pick up your nephew or falling over while shoveling your driveway, because your workouts will prepare you for that.

How Do You Do It?
You want to start out by practicing how to control your body. You may think you already know how, but chances are, you’re a little rusty. Start with simple balance exercises like the one-legged squat and stability ball crunches. Once you feel in control of your body, start adding weight.

Most of the exercises in functional fitness abandon machines and use only your body. So, unlike using a machine where you would usually “train to failure” – or perform the exercise until you can’t anymore – with functional fitness you should perform the exercise until your form starts to falter.

Functional fitness is a lot harder than it sounds, especially when you’re just starting out. Have patience and hire a trainer with a background in functional fitness if you need to. You can even check with your gym or fitness club to see if they offer functional fitness classes, or find a place that does.

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