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!
Lifting more weight is a measure of strength, BUT not if your body is compensating around weaknesses and avoiding certain functions. The real feat is getting your body to do what it doesn’t want to do, to develop muscles that aren’t developed- unlocking functional strength that translates to better biomechanics.
The more weight you lift can make you stronger but if you don’t address the way your body compensates (consciously and subconsciously) to make it easier, then you’re just compounding dysfunctional tendencies. For example, when you curl heavy weight your biceps are working but your hips might be shifting forward to use momentum to help your arms lift the weight. When your hips are shifting forward, your lumbar spine is forced to act as a lever and compression builds in your lumbar vertebrae from repetitive misuse.
Getting your body to do what it doesn’t want to do might mean lifting less weight, but your structure is able to address its weak links and that is where strength originates. The sturdier your structure, stationery and in motion, the more concentrated force you can accumulate to produce power, without compromising form and causing pain.
Without feeling what we’re describing, you simply don’t know what we’re talking about. You have to feel it to know it. When you experience a properly executed exercise for the first time, and you’re shaking, sweating, breathing heavy, elevating your heart rate, and fatiguing muscles in regions that usually don’t activate… and you haven’t even touched a weight yet, you’ll know you’re fighting against your weaknesses. After all, if exercise is easy then you’re just going through the motions and defaulting to your body’s comfort zone. And that really isn’t getting you stronger the way you think it is. Exposing your dysfunctions and addressing those weaknesses will result in strength, without pain, spinal compression, joint aches, and injuries coming along for the ride.
Set up your initial workout with one of our trainers to start building functional strength, without setting yourself up for pain and injury down the road.
In order to classify an exercise as functional, it should carry over to everyday life. Squats, pushups, and pull-ups are often lumped in the functional category because they integrate multiple muscles at once and display bodily strength. However, how often in your day to day movement (away from the gym) do you really use these movements?
Day to day, the human structure moves through contralateral patterns, like walking, more frequently than a squat or push-ups and pull-ups. From a biological standpoint when the body encounters a flight or fight scenario, mechanisms activate in your body that cause you to run from danger- another contralateral movement.
Instead of categorizing exercises as functional just because you aren’t doing yoga or meathead bodybuilding and powerlifting, you should consider how much carry over that exercise will have in life outside of the gym. Will it help your mechanics when you walk and run, or will it sound and look cool but really not have much impact on how your body moves most?
Functional training, when done correctly, will build muscle and strength that translates to movement patterns that your body uses on a daily basis. The stronger you are at what you do most, will result in more efficiency and less wear and tear on your body.