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Functional Fitness Blog post


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Clicky. 

A friend posted the link on FB, and I read it at home before leaving for work. Obviously, it's some dude's blog for "functional fitness." I wanted to see some thoughts from here on his view. The site is actually blocked for me at work, but there should be some links to see his workouts, so you can get an idea of his "functional" exercises.

This was my repsonse, "Compound lifts build a strong core, and that's functional. Much stronger than one would get from Pilates and Yoga... Doing the latter two simply makes one better at them. A500lb squatter might get sore from a Pilates session, but not because his core is weak. It's because Pilates provides a different training stimulus."  ...I think I exaggerated a bit much on the 500lb squatter part though.

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I will read it later, but I am all for functional fitness vs "look" fitness. 

I being a middle aged woman knows how important it is to be able to balance myself from a trip over a rug or even high heels.  I don't want to be 70 and unable to get up off a chair to go to the bathroom because my "long and lean" muscles have made it impossible for me to hold my own weight.

I know that lifting heavy things prevents osteoporosis.  I also know that being able to carry into the house 5 grocery sacks, and a couple of 12 packs ( beer / soda choose your poison) in one trip is something that is functional when it is pouring rain and you don't want to make several trips to the house and car.

I know it is functional fitness when I need to move the couch to get the vacuum behind it once in awhile!

 

I'm definitely pro 'functional' too. His opinion on it is just... interesting. I interpreted his blog post as anti- weights. Which is why I wanted opinions here.

I read through a bit more of it and looked at the "k-fit" beginner workout and it does look more like metabolic work vs what I would consider "functional fitness"  Like you said not much in the weight lifting department.  I love metabolic workouts and may integrate some of his into my workouts on metabolic days, but I won't be giving up my lifting anytime soon!!

 

I am really interested in this topic, but haven't read the link yet. "Functional fitness" is described differently in different places, but usually has a big overlap with "how not to feel/act old." Agility, flexibility, coordination, resistance to joint injuries, and overall energy seem more important than strength, but some strength is definitely important too (and you need extra as a buffer, as well).

Personally, I'm thinking of going to more asymmetric or one sided exercises, like all the variations of one legged squats, one armed kettlebell things like turkish getups etc. They seem to apply to the "real life" more.

Original Post by oldguysrule:

I am really interested in this topic, but haven't read the link yet. "Functional fitness" is described differently in different places, but usually has a big overlap with "how not to feel/act old." Agility, flexibility, coordination, resistance to joint injuries, and overall energy seem more important than strength, but some strength is definitely important too (and you need extra as a buffer, as well).

Personally, I'm thinking of going to more asymmetric or one sided exercises, like all the variations of one legged squats, one armed kettlebell things like turkish getups etc. They seem to apply to the "real life" more.

You might enjoy looking into New Rules of Lifting for Abs, because that is what a lot of the "rules" are - today in fact I did Turkish get ups ( those are really a lot harder than they look - I mean how hard is it to "get up"!) and also one legged squats were on the agenda.  Also a lot of the lifts are "offloaded" things.  I kind of amaze myself sometimes when I am carrying things at the grocery store on one side and it really doesn't feel hard. 

The farmer walks I think really help. 

 


It really means getting really strong was too hard and I'd prefer to play with slosh balls (which is fine, if that's what you want) and call it functional as justification.

 

 

Original Post by michaelduff:


It really means getting really strong was too hard and I'd prefer to play with slosh balls (which is fine, if that's what you want) and call it functional as justification.

Lol that's kind of how I felt about it. 

One of his responses, "Let me dispel the myth that I am anti-weight. I have just come to realize that your bodyweight, if used properly, means you don't need expensive heavy barbells to get strength and power. Bodyweight alone, or with some core challenging equipment such as physioballs and slosh tubes,  are just as effective."

I guess it's hard to debate when the "just as effective" phrase pops up. Effective for what [functionally]?

Doesn't seem to me like he is advocating anything new or unknown. His Kemme Fitness or whatever is just a different spin on basically the same "fitness program" everyone else is trying to sell.

My agility, flexibility, coordination and resistance to joint injury have all improved with heavy lifti, and I get stronger at the same time. Granted, if your goal is only one of these things then there are better exercises for that.
Original Post by bmx419:

I guess it's hard to debate when the "just as effective" phrase pops up. Effective for what [functionally]?

They're not interested in actual debate. They already know that their method is best. [/sarcasm]

And it wouldn't surprise me to hear that a Pilates workout wipes out a champion powerlifter (well, maybe a little bit). But I would be very surprised to see objective evidence that person X (two years of Pilates, yoga, metabolic conditioning) has greater abdominal strength than person Y (two years of Starting Strength).

Functional for what?

He writes: I therefore have to respond that the term Functional Fitness as I define it (it is my website so I can use my definitions) is focused on a strong core and the development of movements (not muscles). By that definition, neither of those above examples [which might refer to weight lifting, bodybuilding, and running, although it's not clear, especially since "neither" should only refer to two things] would fall under a Functional Fitness program.

I'm going to ignore bodybuilding, since I don't know that much about it. But I think he's taking a very narrow view of weight lifting and running to say that those don't focus on the core and movements (not muscles).

Running is a movement, and (as a non-runner) I'd guess that you'd be hard pressed to find a runner who didn't recognize the importance of a strong core.

And weight lifting... well, at least on here (and in the programs like Starting Strength and NROL/FW/Abs), variations on the phrase "Think of working movements instead of muscle groups." are hardly rare. And the most common answer to "how can I work my abs?" is "squats and deadlifts".

So it's not that I think he's wrong about the importance of core and movements. But he's drawn a line between his slosh tubes (wtf?) and my barbells and said that his is more functional??

 

About functional:

I don't deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a bar with heavy plates on it. I deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a laundry basket, a grocery bag, a child, a box of books, a couch... without wondering if I'm going to hurt my back (again). And it makes my butt look better than it used to.  Yet I somehow am able to remain completely uninterested in entering any kind of competition (and it's not just 'cause I know I'd lose).

Is he really saying that my deadlifting isn't functional enough for me?

Original Post by amethystgirl:


About functional:

I don't deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a bar with heavy plates on it. I deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a laundry basket, a grocery bag, a child, a box of books, a couch... without wondering if I'm going to hurt my back (again). And it makes my butt look better than it used to.  Yet I somehow am able to remain completely uninterested in entering any kind of competition (and it's not just 'cause I know I'd lose).

Is he really saying that my deadlifting isn't functional enough for me?

Being a single woman interested in attracting members of the opposite sex - it is functional to have a nice ass!!!... just saying

Meh, I hate the term functional strength.

He has zero understanding of bodybuilding and strongman.

He's ignorant of both sports and assumes the participants of both sports wouldn't be functional.

 

Original Post by amethystgirl:

About functional:

I don't deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a bar with heavy plates on it. I deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a laundry basket, a grocery bag, a child, a box of books, a couch... without wondering if I'm going to hurt my back (again). 

Is he really saying that my deadlifting isn't functional enough for me?

Maybe - it depends whether you need to move the couch, books, or child. Moving loads around involves highly complex movement skills and are frequently the source of injuries.. especially when the load is asymmetrical or bulky, like a couch.  The best way to prepare for a task is to simulate the task.  So walking around with a stack of plates will better prepare one for moving a box of books around than a deadlift will.   Moving a slosh tube might be a great prep for moving a wiggling kid around! 

http://i.imgur.com/HoyL9.jpg  Laughing

Original Post by cherimoose:

Original Post by amethystgirl:

About functional:

I don't deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a bar with heavy plates on it. I deadlift because I want to be able to lift up a laundry basket, a grocery bag, a child, a box of books, a couch... without wondering if I'm going to hurt my back (again). 

Is he really saying that my deadlifting isn't functional enough for me?

Maybe - it depends whether you need to move the couch, books, or child. Moving loads around involves highly complex movement skills and are frequently the source of injuries.. especially when the load is asymmetrical or bulky, like a couch.  The best way to prepare for a task is to simulate the task.  So walking around with a stack of plates will better prepare one for moving a box of books around than a deadlift will.   Moving a slosh tube might be a great prep for moving a wiggling kid around! 

http://i.imgur.com/HoyL9.jpg  

Rot.

If I have a 400lbs deadlift and I have to pick up a child, then the bloke who is playing with a 44lbs slosh ball is better able to do it... 

I've never played with a slosh ball in my life but I military press my eight and nine year old footy kids at training for fun.

Get strong, it makes everything easier.

Original Post by cherimoose: So walking around with a stack of plates will better prepare one for moving a box of books around than a deadlift will.   Moving a slosh tube might be a great prep for moving a wiggling kid around! 

I disagree. Moving a bulky or asymmetric load requires a greater proportion of stabilizer muscle strength. But the person with a 1.5x BW deadlift has a greater amount of total muscle strength, so plates, books, or kids are all easier.

Squatting a 44 lb slosh tube whilst standing on a Swiss ball is an excellent demonstration of abdominal strength. But I still say that compound lifts with heavy loads are still the best way to develop that strength.

Original Post by dbackerfan:

Original Post by oldguysrule:

I am really interested in this topic, but haven't read the link yet. "Functional fitness" is described differently in different places, but usually has a big overlap with "how not to feel/act old." Agility, flexibility, coordination, resistance to joint injuries, and overall energy seem more important than strength, but some strength is definitely important too (and you need extra as a buffer, as well).

Personally, I'm thinking of going to more asymmetric or one sided exercises, like all the variations of one legged squats, one armed kettlebell things like turkish getups etc. They seem to apply to the "real life" more.

You might enjoy looking into New Rules of Lifting for Abs, because that is what a lot of the "rules" are - today in fact I did Turkish get ups ( those are really a lot harder than they look - I mean how hard is it to "get up"!) and also one legged squats were on the agenda.  Also a lot of the lifts are "offloaded" things.  I kind of amaze myself sometimes when I am carrying things at the grocery store on one side and it really doesn't feel hard. 

The farmer walks I think really help. 

 

Asymetric was kind of the theme of this week's yoga class. I think there's merit in all the off-loaded exercises. I started doing Farmer's walks to improve my balance and I think it's really helped.

Original Post by cnichols2000:

Original Post by cherimoose: So walking around with a stack of plates will better prepare one for moving a box of books around than a deadlift will.   Moving a slosh tube might be a great prep for moving a wiggling kid around! 

I disagree. Moving a bulky or asymmetric load requires a greater proportion of stabilizer muscle strength. But the person with a 1.5x BW deadlift has a greater amount of total muscle strength, so plates, books, or kids are all easier...  I still say that compound lifts with heavy loads are still the best way to develop that strength.

Performing human movements successfully is not just about having strength, it's also about the neurological skills to coordinate the movement accurately in a dynamic and unpredictable environment.  This is well known in sports, where the vast majority of athletes' training time is spent practicing their sport, not by doing conventional barbell exercises. 

Skills do have some carry-over benefit to other activities, but the effect is limited.  Exercise science textbooks refer to this as the Specificity Principle.  For example, being skilled at lifting in the sagittal plane by doing barbell squats does not guarantee that one is skilled in the frontal plane, like with slosh tube lunges, for example.  If you take 2 people who can do 1.5x BW deadlifts, the one who practices slosh tube lunges will be better at it than the one who doesn't.  The way to get good at something is to practice it.

A good fitness program trains not just in an up-down motion with the feet glued to the ground (barbell exercises), it trains in all 3 planes of motion, and with a variety of training modes, since that better simulates the demands of the real world. 

There is obviously more to fitness than just weight lifting, but that doesn't mean that "functional fitness" is a better use of my time.  A lot of NFL guys train at my gym and they do spend more time playing football than they do lifting weights, but they also spend much more time lifting weights than they do with slosh tubes.  Power cleans=stronger, more explosive, more stamina, more coordination.  Most athletes like these things.

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