Functional fitness focuses on exercises and routines that will make your body better equipped and able to do real-life activities. It basically trains the muscles to work together as what it is supposed to do unlike isolation training that concentrate only on a particular muscle group.
A great example of functional exercises is Crossfit, which was inspired by the aim of delivering full-body workouts with the combination of cardio, power lifting, core training and gymnastics to prepare the body for any and all situations. While it seems complicated and complex with the variations of these high-intensity workouts, beginners can start with some basic mobility exercises to prepare for the real workouts. The good thing about CrossFit’s WOD (workout of the day) routine is it can be tailor-made to fit an individual’s fitness ability.
One of the center pillars of CrossFit training is powerlifting. We think that powerlifting is only for competitions, but it is also a functional exercise used to gear and strengthen your body to be capable of doing other activities. It involves performing compound movements such as the squat, deadlift, bench press and more.
Benefits of Powerlifting
As a training protocol that helps build muscles, burn fat and reduce the risk of injuries has these several benefits:
- Improves Strength
It strengthens almost every muscle in your body including the upper torso, back and legs. Part of the routine is the squat, which works effectively on your legs and hip muscles, perhaps better than other exercises that tackle those areas.
Another exercise that completes powerlifting is the deadlift. This particularly focuses on the back and legs while the bench press, emphasizes on the upper body muscles.
- Fat Loss
With its intense workout training, a good number of calories are burned in the process. And the best part is it helps in the long term effect of increasing your metabolism.
- Builds Stronger Bones
Aside from the muscle building, there have been studies, which show resistance trainings such as powerlifting that fights the development of osteoporosis as it increases the level of bone density in our body.
- Increases muscle size
Doing compound exercises engages all the major muscle of the body simultaneously which enhances muscular development. Increase in muscular mass can be advantageous when playing sports such as football and hockey.
With all these benefits, we can’t blame why many body builders and gym enthusiasts are engaging in powerlifting.
Before you get started, you should know the different types of movements or lifts used, which are also applied in Crossfit and other cross-training exercises.
Just how we pick up an object from the floor and put it in our shoulders, the clean also has pretty much that same principle. It may seem easy, being the most basic among the different lifting routines but it requires power, speed and coordination. Doing it properly, with the exact movements will develop your balance, strength, flexibility, power, and coordination.
This lift can be broken down to 3 different steps:
- The Knee Position
The first part of the process is positioning the bar on your knee cap. In this step, your weight is supported by your heels, and your hips should be high.
- The Hip Position
At this point, the bar should be placed high up your thigh and should be touching your body. This is considered to be an essential position in any weightlifting. And just like the first step, your weight should be on your heels as well.
- The Catch
Your weight at this point is still on your heels. Your elbows are high and should be pointing straight out while your legs and hips should be in the position of a front squat.
The Front Squat
In this position, the bar is in front of you instead of on your back. Thus, your quads work doubly hard and the lift in general requires good core strength to maintain an upright position.
The Clean and Jerk
This powerlifting movement combines two exercises, which are the clean and the jerk to form one routine. Because of the complexity, it will require professional coaching and techniques to perfect the movement.
Aims to increase your lean muscle mass and tax your cardiovascular system, this is a high intensity powerlifting mobility routine that will require a ton of power, speed and flexibility and some progression lift exercises to help you prepare for it. Considered to be the most complicated routine, it is better to seek a coach or trainer to teach you and assist you in doing it properly.
Get Warmed Up
Just like any other for any other exercise program and routine, the warm up for a powerlifting session is just as if not more important. Exercising on an indoor cycle or treadmill before your routine will help prep and stretch your sleeping and inactive muscles for crunch time, while also activating your central nervous system and improving your blood circulation. So before the big lifts, you would need to ensure your core temperature is up for a good start. Examples of warm up exercises are:
An exercise to prepare your upper body and entire core, it is just like your regular push up, only that when you are pushing back up, you will have to raise your one arm to the sky while the other is kept stable. Bring it right back, and then repeat the process to the other arm.
Advanced Jump Squats
This is a good warm up for the lower body. To execute this plyometric exercise, first, stand up with your hands at the back of your head. Next squat down, then powerfully jump off the ground. This exercise is supposed to be fast, hence requires a high-range of power as compared to other warm up exercises.
Requires flexibility, endurance and upright posture, it strengthens your legs and core. It works with your quads, hamstrings and gluteus too.
The Bent Over Row
It helps increase your strength on several parts of your body that is necessary for powerlifting such as the lats, upper middle back, core and lumber strength at the same time.
There are several reasons and benefits why functional fitness such as crossfit is becoming widely popular among body builders and fitness enthusiasts. Teaching your muscles to be in sync and work together definitely yields a positive outcome and prevents your need to ride around in an electric scooter. Beginners who want to try powerlifting mobility should hit the gym and find a coach or trainer to teach them the right and proper way to train. Following some warm up steps are also a must for an improved performance.
Author Bio: Billy Smith is a writer, fitness junkie, trekker, hiker, tech geek and adventurer extraordinaire. Having worked in the IT field for over 10 years, Billy now spends a lot of his time writing to inspire people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to use technology responsibly. As the founder of Checkcorner.com, it is Billy’s endeavor to provide people with the best information and tools to transform their lives.