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Four Functional Training Exercises That Work Multiple Muscles

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Four Functional Training Exercises That Work Multiple Muscles

Functional training is a growing trend in the fitness industry and for good reason. Very few movements you do throughout the day require just one muscle group. From carrying groceries to cleaning your house, your body requires various muscle groups working together to complete a task.

Rather than the isolation of one muscle during an exercise such as a bicep curl, functional training focuses on improving these multi-muscle movements. Functional training burns more calories in less time, makes the body more efficient and improves total body motion.

It’s one thing to work your entire body at the gym through different exercises like bicep curls, leg lifts and an ab workout. It’s an entirely different thing to work all of these muscle groups at once. That is functional training.

“While there’s nothing wrong with sitting at a machine doing one exercise at a time, functional exercise challenges the body to move differently and in different directions,” said Carla Sottovia, PhD, Cooper Fitness Center Senior Professional Fitness Trainer.

Here are some exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once:

Woodchop. Using a medicine ball, kettlebell or dumbbell, stand up straight, with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the ball or weight above your head with your arms straight. Bend at the waist and swing the ball or weight down between your legs, back to center and down to the other side.

Side-chop. For an added variation on the wood chop, try swinging the ball or weight from one side to the other. Stand holding the ball above you and to one side. As you bend forward, rotate your torso to the other side, swinging the ball or weight to the outside of your legs and back up. Similarly, you can perform this exercise starting with the ball held out in front of your torso, bending and swinging it to one side, back to center and down to the other side.

Stair-climb with bicep curl. Mixing two exercises together can also improve functional movement. Using a stair climber or stairs in your home, climb up the stairs while performing bicep curls. If you are doing this on a staircase, when you get to the top, turn and run or walk down the stairs, holding the dumbbells to your side. Do not attempt to do bicep curls while walking down the stairs.

Back row lunge. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, get into the lunge position with your feet pointing straight ahead, your left leg behind you and your right knee over your right ankle. Lower your chest toward your right thigh and keep your back flat. Straighten your right leg while squeezing your shoulder blades together into the row position. Return to start position. Repeat on your left leg.

Cooper Fitness Center members also have access to a new tool called the ViPR that can be used for functional training. The ViPR allows you to simulate daily movements that involve the whole body, training the body to perform these movements more efficiently.

Check out this video to see examples of ViPR workouts.

While functional training can be done on your own, Sottovia recommends working with a trainer at first who can teach you the exercises and ensure you are using correct form. It is also recommended that you undergo a fitness assessment or screening to rule out any physical limitations before you begin functional training.

To learn about training at Cooper Fitness Center with Carla Sottovia or another Professional Fitness Trainer, click here or call 972.233.4832, ext. 4329.

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.