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FIT Rx Trainers Demonstrate Functional Fitness
Ready to take your resistance training to the next level? Give functional fitness a try. Traditional resistance training machines confine the movement to one plane of motion (such as forward, back, forward, back). Functional fitness moves create an unstable environment and recruit more supplementary muscles. This type of training is also more applicable to real life since we are typically required to utilize our muscles in multiple planes of motion, not just one.
These moves are most appropriate for intermediate or advanced exercisers who are already familiar with the basic movements (side plank, crunch, lunge). They will challenge you in a completely new way.
Remember that not all exercises are appropriate for everyone. Be sure to check with your health care provider or a qualified exercise specialist to determine what exercises are appropriate for you.
First up, one of my favorites:
Side Plank on Foam Blocks
The PAC has several sets of these foam blocks. Put them under your elbows, feet, or both and perform planks. Or step on them with your front foot and perform stationary lunges. Why? Because they are wobbly. They create an unstable environment and that makes you recruit more muscles than you would during a traditional version of the exercise.
FIT Rx Trainer Dana Duffett demonstrates the move below. (She makes this look easy but it is actually really TOUGH!)
Lie on your side and position one foam block under your supporting elbow and the other under your stacked feet. Be careful not to slouch down on your supporting shoulder. Keep it strong and braced because you are working your shoulder capsule also.
Place your top hand behind your head and rotate towards the floor. There is no need to touch your elbow to the floor, simply rotate in that direction. You are working your entire core (rectus abdominus, obliques, and lower back with emphasis on the obliques). Inhale as you rotate toward the floor; exhale as you return to the starting position. Perform up to 16 repetitions on that side. Flip over onto your other arm and repeat on the other side. This is by far the most challenging oblique exercise that I have ever done.
BOSU Crunch with Medicine Ball
Next up– a crunch on the BOSU with a Medicine Ball. FIT Rx Trainer Suzanne Howell demonstrates this move below. BOSU stands for “Both Sides Up” or “Both Sides Utilized.” Sit on it to perform crunches or stand on it to perform lunges. You can turn it over so the flat surface is facing up and perform push ups. Why? Because it makes you wobbly and recruits more muscles than you would otherwise.
Lie on the BOSU with the middle of your back on the ball. Make sure that your back is parallel to the floor as shown below. Hold a Medicine Ball in your hands (4-12 pounds), straighten your arms, and lift the ball up over your shoulders.
Flex your torso from the bottom of the rib cage and attempt to lift the ball up toward the ceiling. Do not lift all the way up toward your legs in a sit-up motion. This will take you out of the zone of tension. Stay on the lower portion of the range of motion as pictured. Exhale as you lift up; inhale as you resist the weight down. Repeat 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions.
Lift your toes up inside of your front shoe. Keep your weight shifted onto your front leg the entire time. Inhale as you lunge straight down. Stop when your front knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Exhale as you use your front leg to press back up. Complete 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions on each leg.