What are Functional Movements?
Over the years, I’ve tried a metric crap-ton of fitness programs. Some examples are traditional weight training, football training, plyometrics, wrestling (no, not WWF style), distance running (I hate that one), mountain biking, road biking, surfing, ruck sack hiking, fire academy physical training, the P90X video series and finally, Crossfit ™. I won’t bad-mouth any of the programs I have tried over the years, because for the most part, they’ve all been effective. But at my ripe old age of 38, I finally found a program that truly works for me in ALL aspects of my fitness goals. Crossfit ™ is that program.
Now, my goal is not to make you all fire-breathing Crossfit ™ beasts. It would be amazing to do so, but I realize there is a stigma that comes with that particular training program. Some folks believe it is too tough, too dangerous or some kind of a weird cult. So instead of defending Crossfit ™ until I’m blue in the face, I am simply choosing to teach you a concept that I’ve pulled from my experiences with doing it and coaching it.
Functional Fitness is nothing new to our world. There has always been some kind of training program available to the masses with focus on the movements we perform every day. Squatting down to pick up your kids, lifting something over your head, darting out of the way of something dangerous, sprinting to grab your toddler from chasing a ball into the street – All functional movements. Without bashing traditional lifting too much for focusing on building non-functional “beach muscle”, I find a push press or a basic squat more effective in my everyday life than I would your basic bar curl.
What does that mean, Kash? If I need to get a box over my head and place it on a high closet shelf, I can use a squat or deadlift movement to get it to my hips, a hang-clean motion to get it to my shoulders and a push press movement to get it over my head. Don’t worry about not knowing what those movements are just yet. Just know that they are a safe and efficient way to move weight, when you absolutely must. So many of the functional movements I will detail are going to nurture your flexibility, strength, range of motion and agility. Each one of these real-life character stats are important to your overall health and wellness.
The true beauty of using functional movements in your workouts is that many of them can be performed without weight. What if your body is as stiff as a board and your range of motion sucks? That’s another positive attribute of functional movements. They are all scale-able. Do you have a knee injury or very weak leg muscles? We’ll show you how to do a one-quarter or a half-squat to begin with. With some active stretching and practicing of these basic movements, your range of motion will get better in a hurry. So let’s get to it.
Below is a comprehensive list of movements that I have categorized into the Noob, Casual and L33T levels. During your duration in your chosen level of fitness, you should stick to those movements in your category. That being said, having an understanding of what’s to come in your subsequent training levels is a good idea, so don’t be afraid to grab a sneak peak. Heck, if you’re feeling froggy, you may even try a couple of them at a very slow, controlled speed.
How does this work? If you’re at the NOOB Level, you’re going to stick closely to the movements in your list. I’m going to give you several sample workouts to perform. Just remember to follow the program as closely as you can. Don’t pick your favorite workout and do that one every day. Routine is the enemy! We want to constantly trick your muscles into having to adapt and overcome different challenges. That is the healthiest, most functional way to train in my experience.
If you’re at the CASUAL or the L33T levels, all of the movements in the level below you are open game. So in your programming, you will find NOOB Level movements as well. At the L33T level, all of the listed movements are yours to love and cherish.
NOOB Level Functional Movements:
- The Squat.
- Step Up.
- Bear Crawl
- Mountain Climbers
- Jumping Jacks
CASUAL Level Functional Movements:
- Jump Rope.
- Box Jump.
- Overhead Lunge.
- Shoulder Press
- Push Press
- Jumping Pull-Up
L33T Level Functional Movements:
- Burpee-Broad Jumps
- Wall-Handstand Holds
- Burpee-Box Jumps
- Body Blasters
- Double Unders (Jump Rope)
- Chair Dips
Do you have absolutely NO IDEA what these movements look like? No problem, head over to the demo pages to find out.