The New Movement in Weight Training
Weight training has always been a popular fitness activity and the reason for this is quite simple. The results are quick; it can improve your performance in athletic activities and dramatically improve strength, muscle tone, appearance and health.
Conventional weight training methods achieve excellent results, however they do have their drawbacks. They follow a fixed path of motion, which work muscles and joints in isolation, limiting muscle and joint development. Now with the help of experts in the fitness industry, a new method has been devised, Functional Strength Training (FST).
FST is an integrated approach to strength training, focusing on exercising muscles and joints together by simulating the exact movements that you would perform in your sport or daily activities. FST also places a great deal of emphasis on the bodies core muscles – abdomen and back – as stabilisers. The core plays a vital role in every activity you perform.
So how does it work?
For best results, if using FST to improve your game, you should mimic the movements of the sport while working against resistance. You should follow the exact path of motion and at the same speed. Also make sure to co-ordinate all the muscles involved in the movement for maximum effectiveness. With FST, you don’t only train the shoulder to throw better you can also concentrate on training the chest, back, biceps, triceps and abdominals as you simulate the throwing movement.
The following examples will help you get a better idea of how FST can be used for specific sports.
A golfer who wants to maximise his/her power to improve the length of their shot will need to focus on the major muscles involved in the golf swing from the legs and hips to the torso and upper body. Using a high pulley, with weights, and simulating the swing from the beginning, right to the end of the follow through, could achieve this. A tennis player can develop a more powerful forehand or backhand by using a pulley with resistance to mimic the swinging movement, at the same time bring in to play the chest, forearm, shoulder and torso rotation.
So you can see FST has huge advantages over traditional weight training. The question is how do you begin training this way. At the moment the concept is still new in the UK but this is changing with gyms putting in specially designed cable machines. You could go to your local health club to see if they have a personal trainer who could design a FST routine using a variety of tools. For working out at home, there are now a number of gyms. The Parabody CM3 Cable Gym, the Life Fitness G5 and the Vision ST200 are ideal and have been specifically designed for this type of training. They offer multiple pulleys and cables, unrestricted paths of movement and a multitude of exercise options.
Today strength training needn’t be just about improving your physique. FST can help you achieve your potential in the playing arena, ease the strain of every day activities and enhance overall well being. The concept works, and as awareness of FST grows so will its popularity.