The term “Functional Training” is confusing to some people. It is assumed that functional training is only for athletes – full of exhausting sets and too much jumping. The way FASST uses functional training is by adding in physical exercises that are life applicable. As we age, good quality of life is our goal when looking at physical training. “Look good, feel good, play good” is our motto. The best way to accomplish these goals is by functional training. When you implement even just a few of the following exercises into your daily routine, you should notice an increase in flexibility, improved balance, and easier movement. Functional training is applicable in many settings – from playing sports to chasing grandkids in the backyard. If you want to maintain healthy physical function or want to regain some physical function, we recommend adding functional training to your routine.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step out to the side with your right foot. Shifting your body weight over this foot, bend your right knee and let your hips drop to the floor. During this entire movement, keep your weight situated over the heel of your right foot. When you feel some tension in your right leg, return to a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart. Work to complete 10 on each side, starting and finishing one side at a time. Work up to 3 sets. This exercise can be started with body weight. Hand weights can be added if more challenge is desired.
Start by sitting on a bench or a chair. Slowly pull your knees up together toward your chest and then back down towards the ground without allowing your feet to touch the ground. Ultimately, you want to work toward doing this exercise seated straight up and not leaning backward. This will come with increased core strength. Try to get 12 of these knee lifts without touching your toes to the ground. When you can complete one set, try to do 3 sets of 12.
Squat to press:
Grab 2 dumbbells or any 2 household items of similar weights. Start with a weight in each hand and arms rested by your sides. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly squat and drop your hips toward the ground while keeping your chest forward-facing. Focus on keeping your body weight balanced in the heels of your feet. When you have squatted as low as you are able while still keeping a good form, push back up to your starting position and raise the weights in your hands up over your head into “touchdown”. Safely and with control, bring your weights back down to your sides. This is one rep. Work to perform 3 sets of 10 on this exercise.
Bench push up:
If you can perform a traditional push-up, that’s great – you can do that for your functional training. However, if performing a traditional push-up is too challenging for you, try doing a push-up with your hands on a bench. This is a great way to get a muscle contraction in the chest while incorporating your core. Keep your elbows under your shoulders (do not let your elbows flair straight out to the side). If a bench is too challenging, try the countertop. When you can do 12 reps for 3 sets easily, it’s time to move down to something lower and continue until 12 reps is easy. Eventually, a traditional push-up will be able to be done correctly.
Snack of the month:
To fuel your workout, carbs and healthy fats are great. My go-to pre-workout snack this month is a small tortilla with a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of peanut butter. This provides great fuel to make it through a challenging workout. Be easy with the peanut butter, it is extremely nutrient-dense and packs a lot of calories. A tablespoon is about half of a golf ball so keep that in mind while preparing your snack.