Here is a recap of my 4 dimensions of Functional Fitness: Core-centered, works movements not muscles, focus on several aspects of fitness and not just strength, and usually involves High Intensity Interval Training. I put “works movements not muscles” in italics because that is what I want to focus on in this post.
I have been preaching for years to exercise in a way that focuses on movements of your body and not specific muscles, meaning no muscle isolation, like most body builders do in order to target specific muscles to make them stronger and larger. The brain doesn’t recognize muscles as it more recognizes movements. The more muscles being recruited and activited to accomplish a task, the stronger and more efficient your body will be in achieving that task. Blah, blah blah. We all know this by now.
I recently have decided to target specific muscles.
Yes, you read that right. I recently have decided to target specific muscles.
There is a perfectly good reason for this. Thanks to a physical therapist my wife saw, I did some checking on my own posture. Come to find out, I have a similar issue with some poor posture, specifically that I round my shoulders when I stand naturally. I have been working on improving this by standing up straight ever chance I realized it, but alas, my natural stance is still poor.
I love physical therapists by the way. The reason is that they know how an efficient body works and that is what Functional Fitness is all about. So this particular physical therapist (I owe you Craig) helped my wife to target her scapular muscles. Her chest is tight (she gets plenty of Push-ups with our program), yet her shoulder is taking over and not allowing her scapular muscles to develop. I understand her issue, but I really have no idea why MY scapular muscles are weaker than they should be. Either way I realize they are the problem because these muscles are great for helping you keep proper posture, so they are ESSENTIAL in the posture game.
Consequently, I decided that I need to target these muscles in order to fix my posture as well. Now here is another reason why I love physical therapists: He gave my wife some options that still work the core. See, physical therapists aren’t about totally isolating muscles either if possible.
Ring Body Rows = awesomeKneeling on a Physioball while doing a row with bands = more awesomeDoing the last part of a Pull-up while kneeling on a Physioball = still awesome (by the way, the first part of a Push-up activates your shoulder muscles, while the end part gets your scapular muscles more engaged)
The point here is that if you have an area of deficiency you want to improve, you can still target some specific muscles while keeping the principles of Fuctional Fitness. All you need to do is get a few good exercises, hopefully ones that are still working your core. Then add then into your workout, or do a bunch of them every workout for your warm up. In that way, you can keep moving forward with the Functioal Fitness workouts, while spending a little extra attention to the areas of concern. If you need help finding the right exercises, try a trusted physical therapist.
Finally, wish me luck. My new goal (we all should have exercise goals) is to have my posture fixed by the end of the summer of this year.