Modern exercise science fails to recognize functional movement as key aspect to overall fitness, health and wellness. When I meet with a prospective client and I ask what you would like to improve the most frequent answer is the strength.
However, if you don’t pay attention to functional when developing muscular strength, aerobic endurance, and flexibility, you will be setting up yourself for long-term health problems. For instance, lifting weights with poor skeletal alignment will not increase strength and it can lead to injury.
Functional Movement and Strength
Conventional resistance training focuses on isolating and overloading specific muscle groups with the assistance of free weights and heavy exercise machines. Muscles are programmed to perform primary muscles actions while activating assisting muscles to stabilize, neutralize and extend in opposite directions.
This functional movement cannot be achieved from isolated weight training exercises. In addition, when opposing and stabilizing muscles are not engaged to work in a coordinated fashion primary muscles have to compensate leading to faulty alignment and injuries.
Lack of functional in daily life can create limitations in your lifestyle and deprive you of independence. For example, inability to squat with proper form can weaken joints and muscles in the lower body and can result in difficulties to walk and get up from the supine to standing position.
Bodyweight exercises require multiple muscle groups to work in a coordinated manner. If it is not easy to get up from lying or sitting position on the floor, it means that all necessary muscle groups are not engaged to support the movement.
It is not widely understood that proper weight shift refers to moving the center of body weight as opposed to moving the whole body. When you see a person moving awkwardly, it means the body is lacking proper functional to shift the center of body weight.
The pelvis, hip joints, and gluteal muscles are intended to transfer center of weight. The pelvis and hip joints must be aligned to engage gluteal muscles to shift the center of body weight properly.
Also, the weight shift is directly related to the ability to balance the body. Did you see a person moving with balance and precision? The difference is that the body of that individual is functionally aligned to support the center of body weight shift and stay balanced.
Also, the following elements are required to perform shifting the center of body weight: skeletal alignment, range of motion, bilateral movement and muscular control.