Fit to function?
Gym rats, it’s time to do a quick check on how fit you really are. You can handle 50-kg leg presses and 25-kg leg extensions but can you take six flights of stairs or bend to lift weight off the floor with the same ease? Even those of us who think we can’t be any fitter thanks to our conventional gym routine may not be functionally fit. Functional fitness is about doing all your everyday-life, day-to-day tasks with more efficiency, agility and grace.
Functional fitness studios have been around on foreign shores, especially the United States, for quite some time now, but they have only just made an entry into Mumbai.
For all the right moves
So what is this training all about and how is it different from a regular cardio-weights routine at the gym? “Regular gym routines put a lot of tension on one group of muscles,” says Dr Nikhil Lad, functional exercise expert at Half, Mumbai’s first functional health studio. “Weight training is divided into moves that target your biceps, triceps and pectoral muscles. Moreover they are supported movements, which means you have to be lying down to do a bench-press, sitting upright to do a leg extension and so on. These isolated movements don’t teach your body’s muscle groups to work in tandem with another, which is why even somebody hitting the gym regularly may not be functionally fit,” he adds.
So our training should complement our daily movements. “Our activities mostly involve unsupported movements, which have several muscle groups working together while maintaining the body’s balance. Functional training replicates these natural everyday movements,” says Madhuri Ruia, a nutritionist and Pilates expert, who has started Half.
Functional training workouts are a blend of cardiovascular and strength training and are done using three kinds of equipment: A multi-functional trainer called the Vortex, which offers about 200 different variations of exercise, Jacob’s Ladder and Rebound Air trampolines, which are especially suited for cardio exercises. There is no electrically powered workout equipment used, so you, not the machine, decides the intensity of your routine.
Functional training, says Lad, is the perfect antidote to our sedentary, remote-controlled lifestyles.