Functional Fitness Programming
Do you have a good program to follow or are you always changing it?
Do you constantly jump from one workout routine to another?
Are your workouts different every time you go to the gym?
Do you find a workout in a magazine or on social media and decide to change your program monthly?
If you are constantly jumping from program to program and not seeing results you are not giving the time and consistency to allow it to work. Any program, or I should say any good program is built off of progression. You cannot keep lifting the same weight for the same reps the same way and expect to get more results. You build muscle and get stronger by progressing your lifts. If you say I cant lose weight and I even track my food but you track your food and calories on three different apps how do you know which one is correct. Pick one and use that to track food. Quit using multiple sources for programs or food tracking. Use one workout routine and do it consistently with progression for months or years and you will see results. It doesn’t take a special exercise you saw on Instagram to get those glutes you want. The top physiques you see on social media are genetic marvels and built on years or decades of consistency with the basics. Most don’t know the basics.
The average person who exercises just want to be able to function better as a human. They want to walk easier upstairs, pick things up with ease, play with their kids longer and perform their normal activities better. The human body has about seven basic functions of movement. Push, pull, squat, hinge, lunge, carry, and rotate. You do an exercise that incorporates all these in a workout and you are good. These movements will stimulate every muscle in your body and anything else is fluff.
Should you do seven different exercise in a workout? You can or you could pick an exercise that incorporates two of these movements. I don’t think you need a squat, lunge and hinge in the same workout but you certainly can.
Seven Basic Functions of Movement
Push: Moving an object away from your body in a horizontal or vertical exercise. This with use the muscles of the chest, shoulders and triceps. Exercises include bench press, overhead shoulder press, dips, pushups and a triceps extension.
Pull: Opposite of pushing, pulling an object closer to your body. Once again will be a vertical or horizontal movement. This will use the muscles of the lats, upper mid and back, forearms and biceps. Exercises will include pull-ups, lat pull downs, vertical rows or bent over rows, dumbbell or barbell curls.
Squat: The most basic but complex movement the body can do. Squats or a squat version will work the muscles of the quads and glutes. Barbell squats, dumbbell squats, single leg squats, leg presses and hack squats are a few exercises. I know someone is going to say why I didn’t mention hamstrings in the muscles trained for squats. Well, that’s because squats and leg presses don’t train the hamstrings. A muscle can’t be directly trained when the length of the muscle doesn’t change. The hamstrings shorten at the knee and lengthen at the hip on the eccentric and lengthen at the knee and shorten at the hip on the concentric. A muscle needs to shorten and or lengthen compared to its resting state to produce force.
Hinge: Being able to pick something off the ground with a neutral spine and hinging at the hip. Barbell deadlifts is the first exercise everyone thinks and demonizes when they hurt their back. But there are any other forms, Romanian deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, kettle bell deadlifts and the Glute Ham raise. All these target the glutes and hamstrings.
Lunge: Like the squat for target muscles but uses more stability and balance because one foot is in front of the other. Split squats, lunges, and step ups are examples.
Carry: AKA walking. You wonder how is this going to be trained. Walking is a multi-joint movement and takes coordination. Pick up two heavy dumbbells or a trap bar and walk with it keeping a neutral spine and a tight core and you will see how vital this is. Heavy carries will train your entire body basically.
Rotate: Twisting of the spine is not something I program in. But strengthening the core to withstand twisting movements done in everyday life is programed. Your core is used to stabilize the torso and protect the spine. So, side planks, planks, bird dogs, stir the pot or a modified crunch are used. Check out the McGill Big 3. Think of these as your anti-rotate exercises.
Seven Basic Functions of a Human
Build yourself a program out of these movements. This is what you should want to get better at. Don’t worry about being a bodybuilder or power-lifter. The average individual wants to function in life easier. So I just gave what your focus should be. Train these three days a week with progression and consistency and with some cardiovascular exercise. You will see results, not just in the mirror but in your daily life.