What The F**k Is Functional Fitness?

Functional fitness is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit in our industry, but what does it actually mean?

Essentially functional fitness is training your body for everyday life. By simulating common movements in a controlled environment we can better prepare ourselves for daily life, from gardening to carrying your shopping to playing with your grandkids.

Functional exercises tend to use multiple muscles, across multiple joints and are usually performed in multiple planes of motion. This helps us to train our muscles to efficiently work together creating strength, stability and mobility, ultimately allowing us to do what we love for as long as we can.

Functional Movement Patterns

There are a total of seven movement patterns in total and they are the foundation of how you move throughout your day.

The functional movement patterns consist of squatting, pulling, hip hinging, pushing, rotational movements and locomotion  (walking/running).

During our classes, we dedicate a week to each of the first 5 movements whilst having a continued focus on the last two throughout.

We picked these because they are the movements that seem to be most common in our lives. Don’t believe me? Just start taking notes throughout your day to day life. Now you might not be performing the exact replication of these movements but there will be hidden variations in everything you do.

Here are a few examples to help you.

How To Become More Functional?

Modern-day society has moved us far away from the practical beings we used to be. We’ve gone from hunting, gathering and tending to the land… too sitting 8hrs a day, hunching over technology and just being generally static. 

If you watch a toddler, they move almost functionally perfectly, whilst playing around with movements and often learning through their failures. But from the day we start school we are taught to sit at a desk and be still, this then continues through education and even into adult life. Over time we unlearn the movement patterns that were originally so natural to us.

It’s important for us to stay functional so we can remain pain-free and continue to do the things we love for as long as we can.

Our first tip is to just move!

Getting out of your chair and moving around will help you stay limber. Try sticking some music on and letting yourself flow by listening to your body and exploring any areas of tension – don’t be afraid here, it is common for people to mistake tension and neural feedback with pain.

Secondly, notice how you move throughout your day. You’ve already seen some examples of how these functional movements translate into everyday life, now it’s time to pay attention when you do them. Next time you’re grabbing something off the shelf, unloading the dishwasher or playing with your child, pay attention to how you’re moving. Explore these movements and get comfortable at performing them in different ways.

How Our Classes Can Help

At RGF we have designed a tier system of classes to help people turn themselves into ‘everyday athletes’ from the ground up.

With our Foundations class, we aim to reteach these movement patterns as we try to combat your current stagnant work environment. Over 4 terms, we spend time focusing on each of the functional movement patterns as we rebuild them from the ground up. Using bodyweight, bands and the occasional free weight we help you to build a good Foundation.

As you increase your strength and awareness through these movements we advance you into our Progressions class. Here we take our functional movements and begin to add more weights and advanced moves. As the class slowly progresses throughout the term you will not only find you build strength through these movements but you will also notice how they directly correlate to your everyday life.

No matter how old, out of shape or unconfident you are … it’s never too late to start your functional journey.