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fi tbody
In November 2008, the
Functional Fitness
IDEA Health and Fitness
Association, a trade group
exercise that
translates to real life
for health clubs, listed
functional training among
by Lisa Marshall
the top trends for 2009.
o, you can bench press 200 pounds, only in the past decade has the idea of
run 10 kilometers in 45 minutes functional training reached the general
and turn heads when you slip on your population.
Speedo. The updated philosophy has trans-
But, can you hoist your suitcase formed everything from the way some
into the overhead compartment with- weight machines are made (with more
out throwing your back out, or squat freedom of movement) to the types
to tie your toddler’s shoes without of equipment used in classes (think
grimacing? According to advocates lightweight medicine balls, kettle bells,
of “functional training”—predicted resistance bands and Bosu balls) and
to be among the hottest fi tness the everyday moves trainers ask clients
trends in 2009—these are the to do.
questions and answers that re- In November 2008, the IDEA
ally matter. Health and Fitness Association, a trade
“Functional training group for health clubs, listed functional
is about doing exercises training among the top trends for 2009.
that assist you in performing This spring, the nonprofi t ACE will
activities of daily living more travel the country, hosting workshops
effi ciently,” says Fabio Comana, from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Portland,
an exercise physiologist with the Oregon to teach personal trainers how
San Diego-based American Council to safely incorporate functional fi tness
on Exercise (ACE). into their classes.
The notion of practicing everyday “It’s a whole new paradigm in
movements during a workout, rather fi tness,” observes Juan Carlos Santana,
than just bulking up with weights or a Florida-based trainer who creates
slogging away on the bike, is not new. functional fi tness videos. “It can be
Professional golfers and skiers have done with easily accessible equipment
long mimicked swings or turns in the that is not intimidating to the regular
gym. Physical therapists often ask Jane or Joe.”
rehab patients to practice the mo- Walk through RallySport Health
tions they perform most at work. But, and Fitness club in Boulder, Colorado,
with one hand or foot, promotes balance.
Once mastered, add more resistance.
Add a little resistance at a time: Lightweight
medicine balls, dumbbells or kettlebells
add resistance while allowing freedom of
movement. Resistance bands, anchored to a
Consider a trainer: Functional training requires
stable surface such as the pole on a station-
balance, stability and coordination; it can be
ary bike, can lend resistance for stationary
more challenging than using machines that
running or upper body exercises.
support body weight. A personal trainer can
start you off right.
Throw in an unstable surface: After master-
ing the moves, try them on a balance pad
Use your body for resistance: Squatting,
or wobble-board. Ultimately, add some
standing on one leg or standing on one leg and
weight, but avoid injury by using wisdom
reaching for a lightweight object on the fl oor
and not upping the ante too soon.
April 2009
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