Does Your Exercise Have A Function?

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triangle poseAs part of my journey back to the stage, I’m trying to expand my fitness horizons. I briefly had a Crossfit adventure towards the end of last year along with some other experiments. One thing I learned from Crossfit is the importance of functional exercises in addition to your usual cardio and weight lifting.

Each type of exercise has a purpose. Cardio is to build aerobic strength and endurance, and lifting is to build muscle strength, size and endurance. Both are obviously important. What is functional exercise for? It’s for everything else. Yes, really. The focus of functional workouts is to become more skilled in movements that you perform in everyday life.

The type of functional exercise can vary depending on the person. If you work in a warehouse and lift boxes overhead, you’ll want to work on overhead squats and snatches. If you work with toddlers all day, you’ll want to incorporate lifting and twisting like woodchoppers and side lunges with a twist. If you are older and only bend and lift your groceries, work in some squats and step ups.

The purpose is to build skill and strength in movements that you need for your everyday life to help prevent injury. Part of the competition experience is to walk gracefully on stage, strike a pose, fluidly twirl, strike another pose, and so on… in 5 inch heels. This is expected of you whether or not you normally walk in heels like Shrek in drag. Ie, walk like me.

So in order to improve my grace and agility, I’ve been devoting one day a week to functional exercising. The main focus is on quick movements while changing direction. Picture a horse barrel racing and you’ve got the spitting image of me in my garage, turning on a dime. OK, even I laughed at that one. 😉

Some of my favorites are interval rounds of the following exercises:

  • Jump Lunges
  • Box Jumps
  • Forward and Backward Bear Crawls
  • Forward and Backward Crab Walks
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers

I chose these since they are challenging without requiring weights and they incorporate up/down and right/left movements along with balance and speed. That’s a mouthful but hopefully it helps me build the grace and poise that I need for stage while I’m working on the muscle size.

If you mainly lift and do cardio, I really encourage you to give thought to the movements you do at work and home and add in some functional exercises.

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