This week, Martin Stoynov – a trainer at Icon Health Club, Camden Street – discusses the trend of functional training in gyms.

Functional training has become a new trend in gyms these days and there is a good reason for that.

Using workouts that shift the focus in fitness to a much more practical full body workout, functional training works by exercising your muscles in a similar way to how your body would be used in everyday life.

It’s the type of training that prepares your body for various forms of daily activity and thus, maintains body strength and endurance that can be applied across all areas.

With an emphasis on strength and flexibility the benefits of functional training differ from other workouts because of the way it targets your body. It incorporates different aspects of fitness and it takes into consideration the physical laws applied to daily body movements, functional training is aimed at boosting your health and general wellbeing.

Want to try it for yourself? Here’s what functional fitness is all about and the benefits you’ll get.

1. INCREASES THE EASE OF EVERYDAY LIFE
By improving the overall function of your body, boosting muscle strength and endurance, and developing muscle and body stability everyday activities can be completed with more ease. Compared to conventional training, the benefits of functional fitness tend to out-weigh everything else because it’s actually targeting the movements we are doing every day. This specific approach to fitness helps your quality of life to be increased in a way that’s practical, effective and easy.

2. GREATER MUSCLE MEMORY
Some of the best benefits of functional fitness include the greater muscle memory. The more your body performs a particular movement or exercise, the faster and more responsive your body can repeat the movements in the future. This can be especially good for sports specific exercises. By performing regular functional fitness exercises, you’re not just building muscle and core strength but actually exercising the brain too – effectively boosting your brain’s memory.

3. INCREASES FLEXIBILITY AND COORDINATION
The range in motion of functional exercises are quite large, meaning you need to start and finish in position where your muscles are stretched. One of the primary goals of functional training is to offer resistance as you move your body in a pattern similar to movements in everyday life. Implementing its exercises and programs works in boosting your body’s functional strength by increasing overall flexibility and coordination. As your range of motion is enhanced, you’ll find day-to-day activities become easier.

4. IMPROVES BALANCE AND POSTURE
The exercises implemented through functional training use multiple muscles to enhance your strength and balance, effectively improving your overall posture. Most functional training exercises are not stabilised and require you to recruit other small muscle groups to help support the larger ones, which will help prevent over training one muscle group and giving incorrect posture. Great posture is foundational to all things, so using functional training routines will help in boosting the state of balance in your body enabling you to reach your full potential in activities throughout the day and in the gym.

5. REDUCES YOUR RISK OF INJURY
The same way as functional fitness works in improving chronic back pain, muscular pain and joint pain, it’s able to reduce the risk of injury too. Everyday movements can leave runners and sport enthusiasts withering in pain on a bad day, and this is why the exercises behind functional training are so important. By mimicking everyday life movement patterns, your body is more likely able to cope with daily stresses. Functional training stands out from conventional training because of its way to reduce the risk of injury and stress to your body.

To learn more about the benefits of personal training, visit www.iconhealthclub.ie