Why you should try Functional Fitness

Functional Fitness

YMCA Central opens new functional training area

Functional Fitness is about mimicking the basic movements we do every day: twisting, reaching, running, lifting, pulling, and jumping. Even though we performed these movements easily as children, we now need training to maintain muscle support, flexibility, and agility. That’s where functional fitness comes in: these exercises are designed to develop your muscles in a way that makes it easier and safer to do everyday activities.

What are the benefits?

Traditional exercises, like bicep curls, isolate individual muscles. Although curls will build tone in your biceps, they’re not movements we do every day. Instead, functional fitness incorporates “compound movements”: exercises that use more than one joint and muscle together. This allows you to develop the strength, stamina, and stability you need to perform everyday tasks, like gardening and carrying groceries, without injuring yourself.

What is a functional exercise?

A squat is an example of a functional exercise we do throughout the day: when sitting down and standing up from a chair, or bending down to pick up heavy objects. Simple deep squats done with just your body weight challenge the muscles you rely on to do these actions, and build the strength and mobility necessary to prevent injury. Add an uneven surface like a Bosu ball and you’re also challenging your abdominal and lower back muscles to help improve core stability, balance, and posture.

How can I try functional fitness training? 

On September 21st, the Toronto Central Grosvenor St. YMCA is opening its brand new Functional Fitness training space. You’ll find bands, fitness balls, free-weights, kettlebells, and other equipment that lets you move freely and perform functional exercises like box jumps, wood-choppers, lunges and more. These exercises work your major muscle groups without machines, improving strength while also getting your heart rate up.

Take advantage of the expertise of our YMCA certified personal trainers, who can introduce you to some functional exercises you can add to your fitness program. Or try one of our group fitness classes, like bootcamp, that feature functional training movements.
Be sure to let us know if you discover a new favourite exercise or class, or if there’s anything else you’d like to see featured in our new functional training space!