Functional Strength Training

In most gyms you’ll see lifters moving weights up and down, but that leads to compression on your joints and spine.

In our gym, we prioritize lifting weights through a horizontal force to train the muscles to contract the way they do in the real world.

Weight lifting that you see in most gyms builds muscle through vertical forces, BUT your muscles don’t work like that.

Your muscles function through multiple forces and need to be capable of dispersing force horizontally and vertically to help your body move well through all planes of motion.

So before you pound out rep after rep of barbell squats or bench presses, recognize that your body doesn’t actually move like that on a regular basis.

To learn some functional alternatives check out the Functional Patterns Training System to set your body up for the world it lives in.

Come meet our team, we’re the only trainers in San Antonio who are FP Certified Human Biomechanics Specialists, ready to help you address your dysfunctions and move better!

Exercise for Life

We teach our clients to move intentionally to connect the upper body and lower body contralaterally. Bipedal contralateral movement is what developed our muscles, and why they function the way they do.

Modern times have made it difficult to keep our muscles functioning the way they were designed because we use the wrong lifting patterns when we exercise, we’re sedentary… and then we SIT on an exercise bike for “exercise”, we stretch the wrong way resulting in flaccid muscle tissue. All of these variables effect the way your body functions in real life.

In our gym we train your body to move the way your body naturally moves in life outside the gym. Simple looking, but not so easy to perform (correctly) when your body has been out of touch with these foundational movements. It takes time and repetition to reconnect your muscles and get them working optimally.

Have You Thought About The Way You Move?

Routine tasks that you move your body through without much thought like bending down to pick something up can be wiring in bad mechanics.

Notice how the vertebrae bulge out when she firsts bends down, then when we correct the pelvis position her muscles contract around the vertebrae and protect them.

This shows how your body can just go through the motions however it thinks is correct, but your form might not be what you think it is. Fast forward and repetitive movements like this or exercises done wrong repeatedly will eventually lead to injury and cause “idiopathic” aches and pains.

This is why our training sessions do more than physical work because the brain is intricately involved in controlling your physical movement. We teach you to be mindful of how you’re moving in order to correct and reprogram sustainable function.

Why Do YOU Exercise?

Most people exercise to stay in shape, often not realizing what that actually means. Is staying in shape about looking good, or feeling good? That’s subjective.

To our trainers, “staying in shape” means feeling good. And the looks usually follow. That means understanding why we exercise. It shouldn’t be because you’re beating your body up to outwork negative behavior, like overeating, being sedentary, or managing stress. When you first address the behavior that’s causing you to feel the need to exercise you can then begin to use exercise as a tool to address your physical function.

While exercise is a good behavior, it can also be used to cope. Like having stress run your life and instead of turning to drugs you use exercise. However this can lead to wear and tear on your body if you don’t address what’s causing the stress to begin with, because you become an adrenaline junkie chasing after the endorphins from an intense workout. The intensity causes wear on your joints and you can’t sustain it. So now that you can’t workout like you used to in order to “manage” your stress, you turn to food for comfort. Exacerbating the problem, and never addressing the root cause.

If you decide to modify behavior and get to the root of stress and the way your body responds to it, you can de-stress without having to workout. And then you enter the rare state of using exercise as a way to improve your function, performance, strength, and mobility, all while fixing your joint pain, muscle aches, body stiffness, and old injuries. So exercise becomes a sustainable habit and builds your body up, instead of breaking it down.

Learn to fix your behavior that’s leading you to use exercise as a drug and you’ll solve a lot of the problems holding you back physically and mentally. Our team is here to help guide you through the process!

Check out www.FunctionalPatterns.com for more information.

Functional Alternative to “Traditional” Glute Bridge

Why is this exercise superior to the traditional variation of the “bridge?”

This exercise is teaching muscles to contract the same way they do to support these joint positions in reality. Not necessarily this exact position, but the overall position of the joints relative to other joints.

For example, the problem with the traditional glute bridge is that it trains the hips to extend while the knees are in flexion- when in reality this joint position combo doesn’t happen. When your hips extend, your knees are also extended- so it’s important to match the exercise up with what happens in reality to condition your muscles the way they naturally work.

Google “glute bridge” and you’ll see the difference in the exercise pattern between the traditional technique and the functional technique. Basically speaking, when your hips lift up they are extended, and when your hips are extended in real world movements, your knees are also extended. Hence why we teach our clients to perform the glute bridge with the hips up and the knees straight. This way teaches your muscles to associate contractions with the way they contract in the real world, providing more muscle support for your joints inside and outside the gym.

Our team of Functional Patterns trainers do a phenomenal job educating you about why certain exercises don’t work the way we thought they did. Instructing you through functional alternatives that train your muscles to function properly with the rest of your body, in the context they’re supposed to work.

Force

Your body encounters and responds to multiple forces to propel through space.

Your body rotates, shifts, adducts, abducts, flexes, extends, undulates, spirals, pronates, supinates, and more- all at the same time.

These functions are necessary to move yourself efficiently through multiple planes of motion without pain and dysfunction.

As a human, your natural movement revolves around your gait cycle and the functions that make it successful.

To elaborate further- these functions work in oppositional harmony and set off a domino effect through your kinetic chain with every motion you do. Sometimes more or less depending on the movements.

To simplify- you need to be good at performing these functions. Your muscles contract better and your body moves better when natural functions aren’t compensated for.

Train with our team of Functional Patterns practitioners to address dysfunctional movement and restore your natural performance.

Functionalpatterns.com

Move Correctly

Nothing happens independently with movement, everything works synergistically to move correctly.

If you’re misaligned in one part of your body while you’re moving, another part of your body will compensate and contract the wrong muscle, or the right muscle the wrong way- causing imbalance, leading to pain and injury down the line.

This is why it’s important to manage your form during every rep if you want to sustain/enhance your fitness and ability to function down the line.

This is what our objective is when training you. Getting your body to learn what it needs to do in order to function and move well.

Sometimes this is simple but not easy because your body and brain have been working a specific way for years. Sometimes that way is what causes imbalances that lead to overuse, injury, or chronic pain.

Once we uncover what we need your body to do, we teach exercises that reinforce that objective until the nervous system learns it and the function has been programmed/reprogrammed into your neuromuscular system. This reinforcement helps make changes that last.

We watch your from during every rep because one set of an exercise done wrong, AKA- done the way your body has always done it and thinks it’s right, doesn’t create the change your body needs to be reprogrammed. This is where our trainers come in, to pester and annoy you until you get the rep done right, multiple times. (We really don’t mean to annoy you, but sometimes the right work can be monotonous until your brain and body grasp the concept). We’re just here to help 🙂

If you’ve been trying to rehab your body with no improvement then you might not know what you need. We’ll help you pinpoint the missing pieces and improve the way your body moves!

Functional Fitness Part 2

We know by now that our body is one integrated unit, so repetitive movements that isolate it into sections cause disconnections throughout your kinetic chain. In our previous post Functional Fitness Part 1 we highlighted some exercise techniques that get a lot of hype, but don’t necessarily deliver the most bang for your buck. In this post we’ll explain why we believe there are better methods to ensure prolonged health and fitness for your body.

We know that the human body evolved to walk upright on both legs, so regressing your training to crawling movements won’t help your daily function. Yes, you’ll feel your muscles working and your brain will think you’re doing something good for your body, but since we don’t walk on our hands our shoulders need a different kind of support relative to our legs. So crawling movements won’t enhance or coincide with the functions of human movement discussed in our previous post- standing, walking, running, and throwing.

HIIT workouts are stressful on your body, and too much stress spikes cortisol and makes it hard to lose fat anyway (plus it’s cumbersome on your joints and hard to sustain for more than a few weeks without some form of pain or injury). So if you’re doing HIIT workouts to lose weight, do the longevity of your body a favor, and stop eating so much. Then just exercise to stimulate muscle tissue in a manner than mimics the way it functions in the real world, so you can sustain your fitness as you age.

Powerlifting can make you stronger but usually at the expense of hernias, stress fractures, disc herniations, torn tendons and ligaments, and compression on your spine. So it’s high risk, low reward because once you injure yourself it’s hard to recovery back to 100%. And in reality why do we need to lift such heavy objects? Humans have developed brains to work smarter not harder. We’ve developed pulley systems, levers, and machines to move objects and do the heavy lifting for us. Compared to other animals, like a silver back guerrilla, we are extremely weak. So the next time you need to move a piece of furniture use a friend to help, or on those rare occasions when you need to move a big rock or firewood, use a wheelbarrow. And get strong at what you do most, standing, walking, running, and throwing. This will help cultivate strength that you can use without damaging your joints.

We share these thoughts to spread relevant information about the human body and the repercussions of the way we treat it. If you like what you do and your body feels okay, keep doing it. But if not, we offer an alternative way to train and sustain your health and fitness.

*Hint; check out the picture from this post, and our last one. Compare how confined the squat pattern is, versus the running one. The bar on the back causes compression, and the running (assuming your joints are adequate- we can help with that) can engage the entire body through horizontal force distribution and create strength and mobility that you can use more often.

Evolutionary Muscles

Throwing is an integral function that shaped human’s innate musculature.

The same way we developed muscles from running to survive, we developed muscles from throwing spears to kill prey and feed ourselves.

For example, the chest muscles developed from throwing and not pushups or bench presses, the same way the glutes developed from running and not squats and leg presses.

Evolutionary characteristics played a defining role in what are muscles look like and how they function. Training is best for the human body when the exercises respect the blueprint of how our muscles work to move us.

This allows exercise to translate outside of the training room into sports, performance, and everyday function.

Learn how you can benefit from exercising in respect to your natural function, with our team of Functional Patterns Biomechanics Specialists.

Vanity Training

The problem with exercising exclusively for how you look without addressing how you function, is it’s not sustainable.

Just like a car that isn’t working, a new coat of paint won’t fix the problem under the hood.

The new paint job will make it look good, but eventually it will break down and you’ll have to admire the paint job without using the car.

Eventually the new paint job will rust because you’ll neglect the car that you can’t drive.

Just like a body that “looks good” but you can’t do anything with it. The looks you busted your butt for will fade because your body is in too much pain, injured, and broken to actually put in the work to keep your body looking good.

If you pursue functional mechanics when you exercise, the exercise will carry over long after you’re done working out. Your body will feel good, you’ll be able to move well, and your body will look good as a result of proper training. Training that is sustainable and supports the complexities of the human body.