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Coaches Corner: How to implement functional training tools

by Shaun Kober
December 10th 2020

 I've had so many great conversations with friends and colleagues about what we see happening in the fitness industry, and thought to myself, "I wish we would have recorded that." More

what does it mean to live life to the fullest train to your potential and perform at your best. Leave nothing on the table. That's a non negotiable is that I strive to be better every day, because if I'm not on top of my game, how is anybody else gonna follow me down the road? Keep demanding more of yourself to live up to that potential and to stay hungry. Training is progress, you know, when I look at the word training, I think of steps, baby steps to get somewhere that you want to be, and that is basically your life journey. That's a mindset in itself, man, it's like, it's not just about I know that for you, a lot of that's about the physical, but we're constantly in training, whether it's growing our skill sets, whether it's growing up physical bodies, whether it's growing our relationships whatever, and all of that is a training ground and that kind of goes back to the mindset that we just talked about, You underestimate yourself and you don't even start, but then once you start, you often surpass what you thought you could do, perform at your best mate, that's that's sort of what life is all about, you don't have the knowledge and have the fitness, the healthy ambition and drive that no matter what comes along.

When that next phone call comes, I can just say yes, I don't have to worry, just go and do it. Yo yo what is up guys, welcome back to this three part series with my friend cat, you know, focus of Macron's muscles mindset. In the first episode, we spoke about what to look for in a coach as well as our journey into and the evolution through the fitness industry during this episode, we are diving into how to use functional training tools to implement them into either your current regime or how to use them as standalone tools. Let's get this episode underway. The first question comes in from Jamie Morris wrote one on Instagram and he writes in regards to functional training equipment. Should I use these tools on its own training day or find a way to incorporate it into my regular workouts? What are your thoughts? Okay, so I've got a couple of thoughts around us and I think this is a question that has probably changed for a lot of people in this past year.

And it's also a question that is going to annoy people, because my answer is that it's relative to the person and I believe that it's relative to the person, because every person has a different goal. Every person is in a different state for their physical fitness and everyone is in a different environment. And we're currently in this environment where we don't have the accessibility to gyms anymore. We don't have the equipment that we used to have, um you know, our entire habits, routines around fitness have changed, potentially goals have changed if you're an athlete competition dates have changed. So I think if you're someone that isn't a competitive athlete, you should kind of be asking yourself, why am I doing this? Am I using this equipment just for general fitness or is it for something more specific? And the reason I say that is because fitness is a lot more than just strength and endurance. And I think a lot of people, when they hear fitness think they're strong, they're fit, or they run fast, they're fit.

But fitness is about being mentally and physically equipped to perform your activities of daily living. It's about being prepared to take on challenges. And I know you've touched on this in a previous episode, but I'm going to do it just briefly anyway. When we're looking at fitness, it encompasses 10 components and those components are power, stamina, speed, flexibility, agility, balance, coordination, accuracy, and endurance. The one I don't do when you've got, you know, one or two pieces of equipment and you're kind of in this state of probably unmotivated right now, you know, that's pretty normal right now for a lot of people. What you might want to do is shift your focus and think about, okay, well, can this piece of equipment help me develop something else? Can it help me improve my balance? Should I perhaps try do a session today? That is just about agility. You know, if you've got an agility ladder sweet, or should I focus potentially today just on balance, you still have agility ladder, okay, you're doing everything with one leg, Like think about the ways that you can use your equipment to intervene within those components of fitness because part of why a lot of people are unmotivated now is because they're seeing their equipment they've got and thinking I can't build strength with this, I can't build endurance, but there is so so many more things that you can do with one or two pieces of equipment that hit those components.

Yeah, that's an awesome answer, thank you. Um I want to add to that as well because so many people think that you cannot build muscle with out weights. That is fucking bullshit. I took my fighters through a TRX session this morning and they were like holy fuck man, this is really hard. I thought this thing was a gimmick and I was like, well for the most part it is a gimmick, right? That's how most people use it. But if you understand muscular contractions, if you understand stability requirements, if you understand motor unit recruitment patterns, if you understand all of these different here's the thing principles, ah phew methods are many, so for me it doesn't fucking matter what the tool is. If someone wants to build strength and muscle, I can build strength and muscle with body weight based movements with a set of gymnastics, rings with the TRX, with a band, with a kettlebell, with dumbbells with barbells will fucking a gym full of machines with sandbags with atlas stones, like it doesn't fucking matter.

And I think that's an important um component is that don't get me wrong, like, wait, are definitely very good at being able to build strength. All right, But is it the only way to build strength? Absolutely not. I also want to adhere like, the question is in regards to functional training equipment, I want to address the functional training component because when most people look at functional training in quotation marks, they're like, I'm flipping tires, I'm fucking um smashing sledgehammers, I'm doing battle ropes, I'm jumping on an assault bike, I'm doing a million burpees, etcetera, etcetera? Okay, functional training in my mind is strengthening the movement patterns that you use every single day. You're either strengthening those movement patterns by um you're complimenting your lifestyle or you're counteracting your lifestyle. I see so many people that sit at a computer all day and then go to the gym and they work through the sagittal plane, don't get me wrong.

Dead lifts, squats, lunges, pushes, pulls all excellent movements. Okay, But most, most people only work through the sagittal plane which is front to back. All right. What about our frontal plane? Which is side to side. What about transverse plane? Which is rotation of the joints, alright? Of the whole body and this is something that doesn't get addressed. So when I look at um functional training, I'm looking at movements that I'm using every day and I'm strengthening those movements. I'm complimenting those movements. I'm optimizing those movements. I'm fixing those movements because most people move like shit, anything you add. Well, the other thing about functional training as such is that it is movements that are in our activities of daily living, like squatting and you know, dead lifting or pulling up. So the equipment there is pretty much your body anyway. So I think we've got to consider that as well. The functional equipment piece.

I'm not sure that this person is sort of using, whether it's a kettlebell or something like that, but consider the functional movement is considered generally body movements that you're doing on a daily basis. Yeah, a little bit more to this question. Um that's all I wrote down, but there was more in the message that was sent to me on instagram, but they were using may spells and basically, obviously they were in the quarantine period using kettlebells, may spells. Um, and now they're like, hey, I've got access to a gym again, gyms open again. Like how should I incorporate this stuff into my training? Now, here's the thing, this is how I incorporated. First of all, let's talk about the functional training. So to give a little bit more context into what I mean, because that was kind of pretty cryptic and what I just said, I think about the body in kind of three joints or three areas. I think about the shoulder, I think about the hip, which are the two prime movers of the body. And then I think about the spine. So when it comes to training, I want to make sure that all of those joints are aligned and working together, right?

So if I'm looking at the shoulder joint and the hip joint, both of these joints move three dimensional. Okay, the elbow joint, the knee joint, it's a hinge joint moves in one direction, flexion extension, all right, shoulder joint moves in multiple directions, flexion extension, abduction, abduction, internal rotation, external rotation, circum deduction, which is a combination of all of them. So when I think about functional movement, I think about muscles pull on bones and articulate the joints. So if there's a muscular imbalance somewhere and I'm not working those joints through those three planes movement, satchel plane, frontal plane, transfers plane, then I'm not actually training that joint in its fullest capacity. So this is where functional training for me comes into play. And if you're using mace spells, indian clubs, kettlebells and things like that, they are fucking awesome tools for strengthen those joints through their fullest range of movement Through all three planes of motion. So for example, um I do have a number of exercise on my youtube channel and this is how I start most of my training sessions.

Okay, I will start my training session with the mobility based work where I might do a Turkish get up. Okay, I do a Turkish get up and that is literally incorporating the entire body through a movement of being able to get up to go from a laying position on the ground to standing, walk, remaining, maintaining control and stability and fluidity of the entire body Through that entire movement. Because one there's so much research suggesting that your ability to get up off the ground directly relates to your longevity of life. So that's an assessment for me. And if I'm going through a Turkish get up, which I have um a demonstration explanation, instructional video on my Youtube channel. Performance, functional training. I'm using that as an assessment. Can I maintain stability through that full movement? Emma holding tension somewhere throughout that movement. Then I'm using my phone roller to go and address those areas of tension.

I'm having a look at where there's instability. I might do some activation work to fire up certain areas there. Okay, so I'm doing them as an assessment but then I'll go into some stability based work where I'll do um some hip airplanes which are one of my favorite exercise for strengthening the hips Again through those three ranges are three planes of movement. Again, they are on my Youtube channel. Then with my upper body working through my shoulder. I'm going through a kettlebell windmill again, three planes of movement. Then I'm going through a plank a simple plank, most people can't do a proper fucking plank. If you can hold a playing for longer than a minute, you're not doing it properly? All right, And again, I look at those three exercises, the hip airplane, the windmill and a plank. I'm doing them as a warm up almost every single day. So I'm incorporating those movements into my training session before I go into my strength based work, my hypertrophy based work, my um speed based work, my power based work, my endurance work, whatever phase of training that I'm working through.

I'm using those exercises to basically assess my movement for the day, address any tension and issues that come up in my warm up and you know, work through those planes of movement. Now I'll do that as a warm up. But then if I'm going through um you know, if I'm tired, if I'm fatigued, I might span the entire session going through some rehab based work where I'm focusing on getting the right muscles, crying at the right time in the right order. I'm focusing on stability based work. I'm focusing on mobility. So this is where listening to your body, understanding what it needs and giving it what it needs is very important. And again, this is where understanding all the multiple tools, okay? Because you need to apply the right tool at the right time, I did ramble then. Anything else to add, I think that you've got everything. one final thing I want to add to that is mobility, stability and strength are all interrelated.

Okay, so mobility is your ability to take your joints through their fullest range of movement under control. Okay, there's a key component there under control. That is the stability component. All right, stability is a form of strength. Stability is the ability to resist force and strength is the ability to produce force. So you need to be mobile enough to take your joints through the fullest range of movement under control. You need to be stable enough to allow those joints to move freely. Walls, maintaining a component of strength through that range. Okay, once you've got stability in the joint, then you can produce more force in the prime movers. So if I'm doing a dead lift, for example, if my stabilizers of my hips aren't working properly to stabilize my pelvis and my core, then I'm not going to be able to target my glutes and hamstrings as much because my brain goes, hey, my joints are in a bad position, let's down regulate force production. And that rounds out this coach's corner episode with my friend cat uniqueness of macros muscles, mindset.

Stay tuned for our next conversation where we answer the question from a listener on, do you have any tips or strategies to recover from long term chronic injuries? Of course we do any five star ratings and reviews are much appreciated, guys. Anyone does leave me a five star rating and review will receive precedents when it comes to answering these questions much love guys. piece.

Coaches Corner: How to implement functional training tools
Coaches Corner: How to implement functional training tools
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