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Team work for your muscles

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If you want to see an improvement both in sports performance and the strength needed for everyday activities, put the free weights down once in awhile and try some functional training

If you want to see an improvement both in sports performance and the strength needed for everyday activities, put the free weights down once in awhile and try some functional training. Traditional workouts use free weights to isolate one muscle group at a time; in functional exercise, groups of muscles work together against a resistance. Recent research has shown that sports players who mimic the motions of their sport against resistance, be it water, gravity, or something else, improve their performance. Tennis players who want to improve their backswing, for example, could use a pulley to work the muscles of their torso, legs, and arms all at the same time. This functional exercise would strengthen the muscle groups as a team, as they actually work during performance. These findings relate to the average person and the tasks we carry out in everyday life. For instance, in vacuuming we use lower back and abdominal muscles. Pilates exercises focus on using these groups of muscles together. A well-rounded, balanced exercise program should combine traditional and functional strength training to improve overall health.

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