Ever wonder why you never see an athlete train on a piece of fitness machinery or use workouts techniques which isolate movements to train muscles such as leg extensions, leg curls, bicep curls, calf raises etc? Because they know that this type of training is counter-productive to building functional muscle strength and performance. The body is designed for muscles to work together through inter-muscular coordination. For example when you pick up a bag of mulch do you lift by isolating muscle groups or do you use a coordinated effort of muscle groups such as calves, legs, stomach, back, arms, shoulders and neck to lift and move the bag.? So why would you train your muscles any other way?
Functional strength training uses movements to train the entire body to work as a single coordinated unit as in sports and everyday activities. This improves your balance, stability, strength, power, agility, endurance, speed, range of motion of joints and helps prevent injury to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments; an exercise format that keeps you limber, flexible, and strong and can be practiced well into your seventies? And there is another benefit; the side effect is a lean, defined, muscular, athletic physique because you burn fat while building muscle and you don’t need to be an athlete to perform this type of training.
So why don’t people train this way anymore? Up until the early 1970’s people, whether they were athletes or just the average person, exercised in a manner which gave them functional muscles. This type of training was called Calisthenics and it built strength, power, and endurance. The training produced an extremely strong, lean, powerful physique that had amazing endurance to perform athletic or every day activities. The exercises could be performed in the home with little to no special equipment. In fact, Militaries for centuries have relied on this single type of training to harden their troops into combat shape and still do to this day.
But in the mid 1970’s a young man named Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced and made popular a very different type of training called body building. Training which focused on building large muscles through isolation movements but had little to do with functional strength for sports or every day activities. The general public became infatuated with this new style of training and started to move away from the benefits of Calisthenics for the look of large muscles.
Over time the fitness niche became a multi-billion dollar industry and this is when the fundamentals of training truly was forgotten and replaced with marketing hype, half truths, and misinformation all in the name of big profits. Every type of magic supplement, miracle pill, bio mechanically designed machines, and every other type of workout and workout equipment came into existence promising to build the perfect body by isolating muscle groups. Gyms became the place to exercise and socialize. This took the general public further away from the true principles and purpose of physical fitness.
Now you see the public spending countless hours running on treadmills or elliptical machines trying to lose fat but in reality are burning less fat and burning precious muscle as well as causing repetitive-use injuries. They spend hours each week using free weights in formats that build little muscle or creates bloated muscle instead of hard, dense, strong muscle. They spend hours performing isolation exercises which train the neuromuscular system to work independently which reduces flexibility, range of motion, agility, strength, and power, coordination as well as increasing chance of injury. They train with the same exercises rarely changing their routine or changing the pace and wonder why they have hit a plateau. They stop losing weight and their muscles don’t become any more tone or defined.
Athletes train in a totally different manner than body builders and the general public. They know the formula for a functional healthy body. They don’t train to build muscle they train for function and performance and the side effect is a strong, lean, muscular, healthy well defined body!
The formula is quite simple. High intensity training using full body compound exercises utilizing interval and circuit training, changing the workout every 3 to 4 Weeks.
But here is the catch. Most people are not willing to put forth the effort on a consistent basis for the 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity training that it takes in order to raise their metabolism to burn fat, and the stress they must put on their muscle and cardiovascular systems in order for the body to adapt and increase its’ capability.
So if you are not willing to put into practice this very simple yet effective formula you will continue to have the same results. Why not take the 20 to 30 minutes to train each day in the privacy of your home to get the results that you always wanted?