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!

What To Expect In Our Gym

In our gym, you won’t see an exercise demonstrated and then be expected to execute it while our trainers stand around and count reps.

Instead, what you’ll find is trainers who show you how the exercise should look, coach you through the technique, and then ask you where you’re feeling it to make sure you’re doing it correctly.

If you’ve been hurt by trainers in the past, come and see us, not all trainers are created equal. Our team is made up of Functional Patterns practitioners that are taught cutting edge techniques to get your body out of pain for good, and moving better to enjoy an active lifestyle!

Alignment 101

The position of (fill in the blank) influences the rest of your alignment. Because our body is interconnected, one structure’s alignment will influence another’s. For example when your pelvis is out of alignment, it pulls your spine out of its natural alignment. The spine’s position effects the position of your ribcage, head and neck, as well as further down your chain in your knee and ankle joints. Basically your center of gravity is thrown off.

When you’re misaligned, muscles pull you in directions you otherwise wouldn’t be in, to fight for “balance” and trick your brain into thinking everything’s positioned where it needs to be. You’re alignment (or lack of) influences how well you stand and move, and that influences how your body responds to its environment, functionally or dysfunctionally. The latter leads to pain and injury.

Training For Life

Traditional exercise techniques yield strength that is limited to the exercise itself and has minimal carry over to the dynamics of reality. Often with aches and pains coming along for the ride. If you want to sustain fitness without the damaging side effects then the way you train must coincide with the way your body naturally moves.

Squatting with a bar on your back or over your head, isolating your arms or legs on a machine, spinning your legs in circles on an exercise bike are all very common exercises. Just because everyone is doing them doesn’t make them the most beneficial because they put your body through mechanics that alter the way your body naturally moves.

This builds muscles that move your body inefficiently and contribute to poor mechanics during what you do most, like your gait cycle. If what you do most becomes poorly executed then injury or pain is likely. We combat the norms of traditional exercise and program mechanics that reinforce the way our muscles were designed to function and the natural movement they produce. This approach allows us to live pain free lives and get back to enjoying freedom of movement.

If you want your life back before aches, pains, and injuries limited you, then try a year training the way we do. You’ve already tried the other way. How’s that working for you?

A Purpose Of Exercise

Keeping as many muscles on the body engaged as you move through an exercise is crucial to reinforcing the way your body functions outside of exercise ?

Creating and maintaining tension is priority to prevent going through the motions with a flaccid structure ?

Just like a flaccid ??doesn’t work, a body void of muscle tension won’t work optimally either. This is what sets the stage for pain and injury down the road ?

If you expect to live life without dull aches and debilitating pains, all of your muscles need to function the way they were designed to, to support your body the way you want them to??‍♂️

Work one-on-one with our team of trainers to build your body for the life you’re living! Contact us today to get started!

210-947-4597 OR info@safunctionalfitness.com

Surgery Isn’t Your Only Option

It’s unfortunate that so many surgeons push surgery to correct injuries and pain brought on by mechanical dysfunction. Surgeons are crucial for emergency surgery, but when it comes to addressing bone malformations, joint replacements, spinal fusions, etc., they fix the joint at fault but don’t take into account what led the joint to get to that point in the first place, or how that newly fixed joint is going to mesh back into movement with the rest of the structure. Sometimes surgery fixes the issue you’re complaining about but creates another one.

Sometimes surgery is the only option, but if you’re like us and want to prevent surgery or approach rehabilitation from a non surgical route, then your training should address what is causing the problem. Exercise no longer has to be exercise to lose weight or sculpt a ripped physique. The right kind of exercise can provide rehabilitation to old injuries, while simultaneously building muscle where your body needs it, to prevent future injuries!

Don’t get trapped in the mindset that you need to exercise to lose weight (that’s mostly influenced by your dietary habits anyway) and then because you’re dealing with pain or suffering from an injury, you need to carve out more time to go to physical therapy. As mentioned, the evolved way of exercising takes into account therapy that the body needs to mitigate pain and injuries while you exercise.

But exercise can’t be performed the way you’ve always trained, or the way you see most others exercising or being trained, because those same exercises are likely leading to worse mechanics that cause your body to be more prone to injuries and deal with aches and pains. Exercise needs to be pinpointed to simultaneously build the strength and muscle you desire, to support your body, without causing poor movement patterns that lead the body to pain and injury that require surgery.

Circle back to why you need surgery in the first place, and what options you have to heal. Surgeons are always going to look at the problem and what surgery can do to fix it, occasionally you’ll get sent to physical therapy, but usually it only delays surgery or the surgeon will only see surgery as the only option to fix the issue. We want you to know, there are likely other options to fix the issue. Because sometimes the issue you complain about, isn’t the underlying issue. Sometimes it goes deeper than having knee pain and you need a new joint. Sometimes building a strong core and glutes will help support your pelvis better and influence the movement of force in the knee joint. Sometimes building a strong upper body will help your lower body move better, leading to less stress on the knee joint. Sometimes it’s a combination of things that improve the health of your knee joint. We work to get to the bottom of what your body needs to improve your overall health and function.

If you’re on the fence about surgery to fix an issue, you might want to consider the recovery from that. Using the knee for example, if the issue is with weak glutes or a weak upper body, surgery magically gives you a new knee joint, but if you don’t address the weakness in your body, in a few years you’ll be back in the same predicament. Your new joint will take the same force that your real joint used to take on because the rest of your body wasn’t built up to support your movements.

We are the only personal training studio in San Antonio that trains this way. We don’t like to call ourselves personal trainers because we get lumped in the category with the rest of the industry’s trainers. We are Functional Patterns Human Biomechanics Specialists. If you’re not familiar with Functional Patterns, look it up. It’s what sets us apart form the rest of the trainers out there and it’s the way we conduct our training sessions- to improve the current body you have, naturally and non invasively. For obvious reason we don’t display the corrective exercises that rehab your body, what you see on our website and social media is a tip of the iceberg of what we do. We only showcase the dynamic exercises that reinforce the corrective exercises we do behind the scenes.

Sure, it will take time, but with the work we put your body through, the results will last over time and not offer temporarily relief, but relief that is here to stay! Come find out more about our style of training and why it’s changing the fitness and rehab industry.

Without This, Physical Activity Suffers!

activity like this, requires muscles that work, in order to perform without aches, pains, or injuries.

Without proper muscle activity, physical activity suffers.

If your muscles don’t work when you work, your body picks up the slack in deficit ways.

The body is king/queen at compensating, which means if you want it to achieve a range of motion it will do it, but it will use whatever muscles it can to get there.

When you don’t use the correct muscles to move your body, you risk injuring yourself or triggering pain from improper mechanics.

Your mechanics are directly related to your muscle function, so muscles that don’t work are going to cause your body to move inefficiently.

Walking the dogs, playing tennis, exercising, standing, and general movements all require functional muscles if you want to perform these activities without consequences.

The consequence for dysfunctional muscles, is poor body mechanics, poor body mechanics contribute to movement compensations, which lead to aches, pains, and injuries.

Let our team of trainers help teach your body how it needs to function, to move without pain!

Reciprocity

What goes up, must come down, what goes left, goes right. Basic principles that can be used to train functions for the body, specifically with exercises that reinforce basic human movement patterns.

One pattern that accounts for moving your body is referred to as contralateral reciprocation. It’s primarily explained as your arms and legs working in uniform opposition- right arm swings forward as your left leg kicks back, and vice versa with the arm and leg on the other side of your body, to rhythmically propel yourself through space.

Watch any person walk or run (and even throw) and you’ll see reciprocal functions taking place throughout their body. Ipsilaterally and contralaterally. It’s a trait that the human body has developed as a result of its movement patterns.

Since the human body primarily operates through a series of reciprocal actions, you can use the principle of reciprocity and apply it to exercises in a way that replicates how the body moves in reality.

Realistically, walking is a, taken for granted, movement that your body does the most. If you want to get “strong” in a way that matters for the world you’re living in, get better at strengthening your body to master the mechanics behind walking, and running… (and throwing). That way you built your body to be resilient for what it endures on a daily basis, and to better withstand the damage from gravity and the force it places on your body.

Let’s reign this back in to, the title of this post: Reciprocity, and why it’s a piece of the puzzle to overall better movement.

If you study the patterns of human movement you’ll find that the body is constantly reciprocating, from basic examples like agonist and antagonist muscles- as one muscle contracts, the one opposite of it it, stretches. And the  timing of the inhale and exhale of your breathing mechanics. Then to the mechanics of contralateral reciprocation like walking, sprinting, kicking, punching, a golf swing, even a baseball pitch. And to more advanced reciprocation, like the micro sequences within oppositional motion. Like the Yin and the Yang, without one, you’d have too much of the other, and that would throw out the balance.

Let’s circle that back to exercise and “training” the body. Training doesn’t always need to be referred to as physical. With the right kind of exercise you should be training your brain and body, and using stimuli to condition the desired response you want for your body, or brain. If you understand that mechanisms in the body work in reciprocation then you can use exercise as form of stimuli to condition more harmony within the body. Exercises that revolve around the principles within gait (walking, running, throwing) involve contralateral reciprocation patterns of movement that communicate to the brain, that the body is in harmony with its biology- how humans evolved to move.

Think about it this way- an upright chest press, with a step, is reinforcing movement patterns that align with human movement, and reconditioning the neuromuscular system to achieve a more rewarding response. Versus, squatting with a bar on your neck, and lifting the weight up and down, or using a dumbbell to pump out 20 reps of curls for big arms- with no regard to what’s going on with the rest of your body. Have you consider that because the body works in harmony and integrates muscles to work synergistically at once, that isolating one muscle to work one at a time, creates disconnections in your neuromuscular system. So, which form of exercise do you think would create more symbiosis versus division in the body? No more Yin and Yang together.

While there is still much more to account for in terms of exercising, training, principles, function, and reciprocity, this was written with the intent to create a different way to think about exercise. And the effects it has on your body, function, wellbeing, and longevity. As we learn more about the human body and how it operates, we can finally become more intelligent with the way we exercise. No longer for sport or ego, because those aren’t healthy for your body and more importantly you can’t sustain the behavior.  So you spend a few years looking good, maybe even feeling good without joint pain, but eventually it’ll catch up to you and you won’t be able to move, you’ll hurt, you’ll put on weight, turn to dysfunctional behavior for comfort, and enter the hard to get out cycle of self sabotage. What if you could use exercise to get healthier as you age? Not to look good like when you were younger but to feel youthful, energized, and functional like when you were younger! It’s a red pill to swallow but one that can be rewarding in terms of wellbeing as you age. All the fears and self fulfilling prophecies of hip replacements, back pain, and immobile joints can all be avoided, if you decide to train smarter instead of harder. Set yourself up for the long run. The world needs strong and capable humans!

Yours in Health,

Michael

A Different Kind Of Gym

What makes our gym different from other gyms? Why do our trainers utilize the Functional Patterns training system? We’ll answer that by looking at the way humans were conditioned through evolution.

Over millions of years the human body evolved to do 4 things with precision, that other animals can’t do. As humans, we stand upright on both legs, we walk and run upright on both legs, and we throw overhead.

These functions were necessary for survival- running from predators, throwing spears to kill prey and feed ourselves, and walking long distances to migrate to better climates, all while standing upright.

As a result of these movements in our early years, our muscles learned to contract a specific way to support these necessary actions and the repetitive contractions shaped our muscles and gave them the tone that we have today.

The reason our trainers learn and teach Functional Patterns is because the foundation of this training system, recognizes and respects these 4 fundamental functions with all of the exercises. It’s a system that was created for humans that reinforces the way the human body evolved to move and exist.

As we train these fundamental functions, our bodies learn to move in line with our ancestral movement patterns. The result is strength on a wide scale because the body is learning to create muscle to support the way it moves everyday- the same way humans have moved everyday for several million years.

We run into trouble when we perform exercises that break the mold that shaped us. Our muscles learn functions that it doesn’t need and forgets functions that supports the way the body naturally moves. This results in aches, pains, and injuries because the body is out of its element and muscles fight through and compensate in ways they didn’t evolve to.

Working out, exercising, training, lifting, whatever you want to call it should NOT cause pain or only make you strong in the gym. It should enhance your natural functions, so other functions come along for the ride, and without all the drama. It’s not normal to wake up with aches every day, live with pain, or chronically work around injuries.

The right kind of training (backed by the 4 fundamental human functions) will provide strength, mobility, and endurance for any scenario. Once your body is functional (by the above standards), that function carries over to activity, performance, and general movement to support your body without fearing pain or risking injury. That is what fitness is.

If you want to be functional and fit for your life apart from the gym, now and in the long run, train with the above in mind. If you need help figuring out what exactly that means, and you want to feel what an exercise feels like when executed correctly, instead of just copying the movement from YouTube or a “fitness” app then contact us today. Call, stop by, or book online to try your first introductory session!

What Does Your Exercise Regimen Do For You?

You know exercise is good for you, but is the way you exercise helping enhance your ability to function as you age? Whether you’re 30, 50, or 70 exercise has the power to optimize your function as the years roll on. The caveat is that your muscle network needs the right kind of stimulus to produce the results you’re after.

Mindlessly sitting on an exercise bike after sitting at work all day, or lifting weights up and down without mechanisms that mirror human motions is just going to lump you in the “I’m just getting older so my knees hurt and I just can’t move like I used to” category.

Your functional capacity is a byproduct of your exercise regimen, or lack thereof. Lifting weights up and down to build big muscles is shortsighted if you don’t consider the function of the muscle, and how it works to move your body when you aren’t exercising. Muscle mass built on a compromised structure turns into dysfunctional muscle because its main function(s) isn’t it’s only job anymore. It’s having to hold your body in positions that aren’t preferable or natural but now it’s stuck there because you trained the muscle to associate its function “this way” instead of the way nature designed it to.

Lift weights and exercise to train your muscles in the context that your body uses them the most, because your future function is at stake every time you exercise. You’re 25 or 35 years old now and your body feels alright, but if its barely hanging on now and you’re starting to feel joint aches creep in then you need to ask yourself what state your body will be in 10 years from now if you continue exercising the way you’re exercising now. Real functional exercise has more to it than meets the eye. Our gym focuses on how the human body evolved to function and how it moves on a daily basis to create an exercise regimen to provide a sustainable way to workout, without succumbing to aches and pains accompanied by traditional gym exercises.

If you want to learn more and treat your body right, now, so it treats you right, later, then schedule your initial consultation to get started on the path to pain free, unrestricted movement, and enjoy the activities that are part of your life!