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  • Derrick Woods

Minimal Functional Fitness

I remember loving the functional area of my gym, in fact I almost exclusively worked out there. Unless I was going one of the major compound lifts (Bench, Squats, Deadlifts). If you are unfamiliar with the gym the functional fitness area is typically the area in which you will find lots of empty floor space, slam balls, boxs, kettlebells, dumbells, battle ropes, etc.


Now normally I would point out all the ways that these workouts serve no real functional purpose in respects to the design of the body. However, the functional area has more potential than the rest of the gym, so I'm going to instead talk about its potential to be the most effective area of the gym. This area has more potential due to the lack of rigidness present in the rest of the gym. As I've already and will continue to establish, the body is designed to move a certain way and traditional weight lifting causes more damage than good if you are looking to get optimal functionality out of your body.


Let's look at one of the exercises done in this area first: kettlebell swings, which I recognize aren't exclusively done in this area. However, I got good news for you. The kettle bell swing is a great backline exercise. The myofascial backline is essential to holding your body upright, which means maintaining spine alignment (and with spine alignment to a degree comes pelvic stability and vica-versa). You can use kettlebells to work almost all of these myofascial lines along with some of the lighter dumbbells you find in the functional area.


Also in the functional area are slam balls (side note about slam balls they are also great for punching.) The most common exercise you see done with slam balls are slamming to the ground or chest passes. Although they are good exercises, they aren't functionally functional. A more functional use of the slam ball is ice skaters with a twisting throw. Even single leg slam to an ice skater chest press. In the end the key to being functional isn't a tool or branding, it's training the body to get better at moving in the ways it was designed to. Until next time keep it RAW



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