Functional FitnessA popular trend in fitness training has been a transition from the use of fitness and weight machines to exercises that reproduce normal body movements and mechanics. The idea behind this is simple: Performing exercises that are similar to normal daily activities is a better way to train. An example would be doing lunges and squats rather than using a leg press machine.

doingpushupFunctional fitness training incorporates several elements at once. First, one’s own body weight is typically all that is needed instead of machines and weights. Second, more exercises incorporate core strengthening working several areas of the body at once. Neurological control is also promoted with these types of exercises. Finally, equipment needs are minimal and inexpensive. Functional fitness gyms typically look rather sparse but rather provide ample open space for strength and agility training. In some cities, this is done outside in a park.

It is key to find an experienced trainer to take you through a functional program. The goals are simple: Improve you overall conditioning and fitness, decrease the potential for injury, and improve quality of life.

Please let me know if you have more questions about functional training or are looking for a referral to a trainer.

Dr. Scott Hacker is a Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon in San Diego, CA, Team Surgeon to the US Olympic Team. He specializes in sports medicine and sports injuries, knee and shoulder surgery.

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If you have questions about functional fitness or rehabilitation, please feel free to contact me at Ask Dr. Hacker or through my office.

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