“Self-confidence, poise, consciousness of possessing the power to accomplish our desires with renewed lively interest in life are the natural results of the practice of Contrology (Pilates).” - Joseph Pilates, (founder of Pilates)
“The goal of training is not to change how the body looks, but to improve how the body moves.” - Gray Cook, (Co-founder Functional Movement Systems)
For quite some time now I have been incorporating functional movement and training as well as pilates into the workout routines I provide for my clients. If you want a body that functions better throughout the day, then you should really start adding functional movement patterns and training to your workout routines. One of the main reasons this type of training is important is to help people perform activities in daily life better and safer without causing pain and reducing the risks of injuries.
Simple tasks like carrying your shopping, moving heavy items at work or at home, or standing up from a chair can all be improved. An example would be something as simple as getting into your car (one legged squat with rotation) can be mimicked via the breakdown of movement in the gym (or studio) so that training becomes “functional”. Rather than training to look a certain way you train to function better in everything you do and this will be of optimum importance as you get older.
Aimed at improving your overall wellbeing and quality of everyday life, functional training has benefits for the young and old, people new to training and elite athletes. Here are some of the benefits of functional training;
- If you play a specific sport, functional training will help improve your game by developing the mind to muscle connection and increasing strength and power.
- It can help correct posture imbalances that might have arisen from working too long at your desk, standing too long in one position or carrying a heavy bag on one side.
- Functional training will improve whole body flexibility, core strength, mobility, stability, balance and posture.
- If you have recently had a baby, functional fitness can train your body to cope with the extra strains of holding and lifting the baby without causing injury.
- For seniors, functional training can greatly improve the quality of life. Overall strength, balance and coordination will improve, while increasing joint mobility and energy levels.
Pilates teaches all these concepts and offers the same benefits. It’s exercise as body movement. The roll up is an example of full body integration (when performed correctly) and is as functional as it can get. Focusing on flexion of the spine, lengthening out the lumbar erectors, hamstrings (posterior chain) and promotes body and postural awareness. The following youtube video shows the correct way to do the pilates roll up exercise;
Pilates on it’s own is a remarkable form of exercise that helps with core stability, movement, muscle imbalances and improving posture. When Pilates is done regularly and correctly you will vastly improve your core stability, posture and overall quality of life. In my view if you combine functional training and pilates they combine to make the ultimate workout. Pilates movements can be considered part of functional training as they integrate core muscles, muscular slings (which stabilizes lumbar pelvic hip complex) deep stabilizer muscles and bigger global muscles so the body can perform complex tasks such as the ability to stand from supine lying, rotate spine, lift arms etc.
Performing these movements on a regular basis can help any person to balance out their body’s anatomy and move in a more functional, stronger, pain free manner. I have recently qualified as a Functional Movement Specialist and carry out the Functional Movement Screens as per the FMS method, you can get more info here;