I decided to practice what I preach. So after my post Weight Machines Are For Losers
, I decided to go totally “FT” (which stands for Functional Training, not “fttttttt”). Boy howdy am I sore!!! Yesterday, I kept my same circuit of weights with descending sets but instead did all of my exercises on the bosu or the exercise ball. I did try a balance board and could not, for the life of me, get my balance. Which is very distressing to me as I pride myself on my good balance. Pride definitely goeth before the fall in this case – literally!
I normally don’t use machines except for perhaps the leg press and the seated row for my upper back. It wasn’t too hard to come up with alternate exercises. The hard part was not cursing every time I fell over. Today, I am sore in places I don’t normally get sore like my abs & back and (duh) other supporting muscles.
I discovered the Monkey Bar Gym
Workout through Outside magazine a couple of months ago. While I don’t live near their gym and am too cheap to buy their online plan, I have been incorporating the FT exercises they featured in the magazine. The basic principal is to work out how kids play: climb ropes, swing from bars, turn cartwheels and so forth.
Workout Buddy Allison and I have, despite the crraaaaazzzzyyyyy looks we get and the indignant huffs from the staff at our gym, have been enthusiastically doing pull-ups (any way you can get your chin over that bar is allowed – so feel free to jump, frog kick, swing, or just giggle like a school-girl), practicing our handstands (I can already hold one for several seconds and do a 180!), and breaking out all our old-school freestyle jump rope moves (can you double-under??).
The verdict? SOOOOO fun! Seriously, we laugh every single day. We used to limit our weight lifting days to every other day ostensibly so we could recover (but really because we just didn’t like it very much). As recovery really is important, we still only do our free weights every other day but now any time we spot an open room (or just space on the stretching mats), we race to do our stunts. It’s become the highlight of our workouts.
Have I lost strength from focusing less on the actual weights and more on the fun stuff? According to all objective measures: no. My lean muscle mass is the same. When I do lift, I’m still able to do my usual weight (unless I’m on the bosu, that is). So I’ve lost nothing and gained a great deal of entertainment for both myself and all the old people walking around the track, craning their necks to see what in tarnation we are doing.
A Must Read
“Is Your Workout Wasting Your Time
“, an article posted on BestLifeOnline (thanks for the tip, Waif!!), is a must read on functional training. This insightful article addresses the origin and effects of our current machine-centric (treadmills included!) gym culture.
“Perhaps the best evidence against traditional health clubs is that these days most elite athletes rarely step foot in one. ”
This article outlines the many reasons that traditional workouts don’t get people their desired results and offers several FT tips:
– Train on your feet
– Vary your pace
– Train movements not muscles
– Train the four elements: stopping, slowing, ascending/descending, and catching
– Prepare to use the distant corners of your gym (charlotte’s note: and get stared at a lot)
The article also specifically recommends CrossFit
, the program that Andrew introduced us to earlier (go Andrew, you pioneer, you!).
There is so much from this article that I want you to know so instead of parsing it for you, I’m really just going to tell you to go read it. It’s that good.
Do You Turn Tricks?
What kind of FT moves do you guys particularly love?? I need ideas!