Workouts & Nutrition

Everything You Need to Know About Functional Strength Training

Strap in because we are delivering some functional strength training Gee-Oh-Elle-Dee today with Zap Fitness St Morris PT Luke Robinson. The owner of 949 Training, Luke’s fitness rap sheet includes a dedicated 16-year career as a swimmer and water polo athlete, followed by a stint in Muay Thai and MMA and rounding out as a competitive Power Lifter.

So, in other words, we are chatting with someone seriously in the know when it comes to Everything YOU need to know about Functional Strength Training!

Let’s kick things off with what is Functional Strength Training, according to Luke, “Functional Strength Training is training in strength-based movements that will help someone with their day to day life. These movements can vary depending on the person but there are a few key movements I like to have my clients do to give them a good functional base.”

And not surprisingly, the number one functional strength training movement in Luke’s awesome bag of tricks is the Deadlift, “This is by far my favourite exercise to do. As a Power Lifter, one of the requirements is to deadlift as heavy as possible and to me this is an enjoyable task to train for as it is the most challenging lift in my sport, and I love a challenge.”

Luke adds, “As people we have to pick things up and put them down all the time, which is exactly what a deadlift is. If I can teach someone to safely perform a deadlift, they should be able to translate the ‘picking up’ action safely in real life, not to mention also having the benefit of a strong posterior chain which can help with posture.”

Speaking of posture, that is another benefit you can chalk up to functional strength training. According to Luke, “Not only does Functional Strength Training help us with day to day life, moving more efficiently and safely, but it will also help with correcting structural imbalances…i.e. your posture.”

So, let me just get this straight, by doing a Functional Strength Training program we can prepare to stand taller, move better and generally be a more useful human.

But does that mean machines are a no-go zone?

Well as far as Luke is concerned, “A combination of machine-based training coupled with mostly functional movements is fine. Machines work great when doing accessory movements to build extra muscle, which will end up helping in your strength. But it is important to remember that machines do not have the same real-world application. For instance, there is no stability required. I know people that can Leg Press 300kg but can’t Squat 100kg because their core stability is not developed. There’s simply no use being strong without the function to back it up.”

Ok I get it, don’t just use the machines…become a machine!

So, for the record, if we are now functional little lifting, jumping, running, squatting, skipping machines…when it comes to dealing with the really heavy moving, what are we aiming to do?

Luke’s golden rule is, “Many good reps. I always say to my clients, pick a weight you can do for 7-8 reps and do it for 5 good reps. There’s no need to grind out reps, risk injury and form bad habits. Teach your body the proper motor patterns and the progress will be better in the long run. I made the mistake of trying to rush and it took me a long time to fix it.”

If you’re keen to begin a Functional based Strength Training program but don’t know where to start, Luke recommends booking in a session with a personal trainer, adding “Different functional exercises work for different people, to work out what works for you and how to train properly it’s so imperative to consult the experts.”

Here’s to being better humans!

– by Prue Houston


Visit Luke Robinson at Zap Fitness St Morris
Address: 427 Magill Rd, St Morris SA 5068, Australia
Phone: 0435 810 220
Email: [email protected]
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From @zap_fit