Functional Strength Training

 

Movement is a flow between appropriately timed contractions through the whole body. It is the whole body that moves, not a specific muscle.

Our lifestyle is so disconnected from the body. It is just like we are a bunch of over sized heads on bodies that are completely underutilized. My job as a trainer is to transfer the focus from your head to the body. 

The body moves in patterns all under the control of the nervous system. So functional training is training the brain and the nervous system. The focus is on feeling the body, proprioception, balance, reflexes and working on the coordination between the contraction and the relaxation of the muscles along the muscle lines for each movement patterns. The problem is that some connections between the nervous system and the muscles were never developed or were lost by not being used. The idea is to activate these connections and get the body to move more easily, more effectively and more harmoniously.

The movement patterns are activating different muscle lines and they are firing each muscle along the line at a different time. You wouldn’t believe how much efficient you could become by activating the muscles of your feet and toes when you move. Our feet are the most neglected part of the body, but they are one of the key to better movement and balance.

Posture is everything. Every body has a neutral position where a minimum energy is required and where all the muscles are ready to work (neutral position). The neutral position or ready to work position is different for everyone, this is why you have to find it by feeling it. It is an easy and efficient position I call the ready to work position, the one you should always go back to when you train. In a proper neutral position all muscles should be available and ready to work. In an inappropriate posture some muscles are inhibited and will not be able to work, the position simply stops them from working. Your skeleton in neutral position is like a sailboat with all the muscles pulling on it just right for it to be strait and ready to work.

Your body is unique. Your bone length and joints angles are all different. No exercise should bring pain and feel awful. If it does, it is because some parts of your body are not in a good moving position. Restriction in mobility should be taken very seriously. I am talking about toes, ankles, shoulders. You should do everything to avoid those. It goes downhill after that because your body will never be able to perform the movement patterns properly and get to a neutral working position... There is no useless part in your body, everything has its role to play, your feet and toes are important...

With any effort, the body works better when it is strait. Hips parallel to the ground, using the power of both side equally (feet and glutes maximus). The most powerful joint in your body are the hips. The most powerful muscles are the glutes maximus. The feet and ankles are your base. Always position your feet in the position that feels the best. They push against the ground and anchor your hips. The knees are not meant to work hard. They are very weak. They need to be stabilized and used in the angles that align with your ankle and your hip joints. Again, you have to feel it. The key is if it doesn’t feel good, you are not moving correctly for your body. Feel, feel, feel… The right exercise will make you move easily and will feel good.

 

My clients don’t injure themselves in my studio, they injure themselves during life activities. Some while gardening, some when lifting, some when working. It is not when they focus and keep the body strait during training, it is when they do things automatically without thinking or focusing. This is very dangerous when you age, your body becomes less and less forgiving. This is where awareness and intelligence choose the one that will age gracefully and the ones that will get in more pain, stiffness and injuries. What group of people do you want to part of?

Know your body and develop awareness. This is not mental knowledge, this is about feeling. You are in charge of your own body and nobody will know it better than you. No doctor, fitness instructor, massage therapist, chiropractor... Aging is about losing. Get used to it, nothing physically good will come from it. The solution is to build up fitness early in life and keeping it. I call that an investment. Once you get to a certain level of fitness it is not much work to maintain. A few hours of intense training per week does it.

 

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