1. Are you functionally strong?
2. Are you unclear on whether you’re functionally strong, or not?
3. Is your training approach designed to help you build a strong, lean, functioning body for the long haul?
4. How high of a functional value would you rate your current fitness and strength program?
If you’re unsure as to the answers to these questions then you’re in the right place. There’s only one way to pursue fitness. I don’t care if you can bench press a 1000 lbs and squat 2000 lbs.. Because at the end of the day you’ve got to be able to bend over and tie your shoes. At the same time, you’ve got to be comfortable with getting on and off the ground. This process shouldn’t be too cumbersome.
Getting Functionally Strong
Just to be clear the definition of being functionally strong is a bit generic. However fitness is not always an exact science. Trial and error is essential in finding the answer to most any useful method…particularly when looking at fitness and performance.
With that being said being Functionally Strong is defined as having the strength, skill, and ability to execute movements that mimic real life activities with confidence and without inhibition. If you’re looking to crush your fitness and strength program then you need to be engaged in such movements that mimic these real life scenarios.
Functional strength is your way of being able to train your body to last over the long haul with less injury. This will allow you to do more work output in order to perform in life. It’s really that simple.
Believe me I’ve been in those situations when I was less functional and those were times when I accrued injuries…and at the end of the day injuries suck. The key to your strength and fitness goals is making sure you can perform work whether you’re competing in a sporting event, or helping your neighbor hoist their couch up a flight of stairs.
So how can you go about ensuring that your strength program is sound on building you that much needed function so you can last over the long haul? Well I’ve included 4 moves, or strength drills for you to implement right here below to help you to do just that.
Functional Value: 1 Being Low, 10 Being High–Deadlift–9
This probably goes without saying, but deadlifts are wonderful for building functional strength. The deadlift is a very powerful movement and is beneficial to you in several ways.
First of all, deadlifts are great for your core stabilization, your hip hinging, your glute and hamstring development, and your grip strength. Breaking down the benefits the deadlift is a truly a powerful option in terms of helping you to get functionally strong.
Additionally this movement can be performed with a number of variations and with different training implements. As you know deadlifts can be performed with the standard barbell, but this movement can also be executed with kettlebells, logs, trap bars, and even other odd objects such as tires. This is a versatile and truly valuable movement for you to add to your strength program.
2. The Walkout Push Up:
Functional Value: 1 Being Low, 10 Being High–Walkout Push Up–10
Of course it would be easier to just say the standard push up would qualify as the next go to for functional strength in terms of essential bodyweight movement. Even though this is the case the walkout push up adds an entirely new dynamic to the movement. I prefer to implement this one in terms of helping my students achieve optimal function.
This movement requires you to start from the standing position first and from there you descend down into the squat position in order to place your hands on the ground. From here you walkout on your hands extending your body horizontally along the ground until you’re set into an upright push up position.
From here you perform a standard push up and walk back to the squat position before standing up again. This movement’s functional value is high because it involves several different movement combinations including both the squat and the push up. The walkout push up gives us an animal like type of movement which yields a higher level of function.
3. The Pull Up:
Functional Value: 1 Being Low, 10 Being High–Pull Up–8
The pull up is probably one of the most challenging bodyweight movements that anyone can perform. I give this one a high 8 ranking because there’s a reason that pull-ups are so emphasized in both the military and pretty much every box gym and martial arts gym around.
The benefits of the pull are huge in terms of helping you to become more functionally strong because they help you in becoming more capable of pulling yourself up and over an obstacle. Who knows when such a need may arise, but regardless the pull up also supplies you with other benefits to aid you in day to day function.
Pull ups stretch and strengthen the lats while helping to stabilize your shoulder girdle. This is something that is often ignored with much of the dysfunction people develop with jobs and careers that tend to be more sedentary and demand a lot of sitting at the desk time which causes poor posture due to the weakening of your shoulder girdle.
The pull up exercise is a great drill for helping you to overcome this sort of weakness and will fill the gap in your functional strength training needs.
4. Farmer’s Walks:
Functional Value: 1 Being Low, 10 Being High–Farmer’s Walks–8
Farmer’s walks, or farmer’s carries are tremendous for building a functionally strong body. Obviously this movement is highly valuable for training you to create tension and stability through your pillar and midsection as you brace yourself during the loaded carry.
It’s easy to see why this particular movement would be considered one of the 4 top listed functional movements that I have listed here. After all, what situation in life that involves a walking loaded carry is considered to not be functional?
Farmer’s walks are going to strengthen your grip, midsection, and shoulder girdle. These get a high function rating from me because this movement is so highly practical and can be applied by carrying dumbbells, kettlebells, a trap bar, or pair of sandbags.
Getting Functionally Strong: The Takeaway
The key to getting functionally strong is making sure to apply yourself by incorporating movements that integrate multi-joint movements. Additionally you want to be able to apply movement(s) like the ones listed here that mimic real life scenarios. Double and triple down on your fitness by being able to move and handle yourself. Otherwise what is the point?
Based on the movements I’ve included here how high of a functional value would you give your strength program?
What are you currently struggling with the most in terms of your functional abilities?
What functional strength movements are you currently incorporating into your training program?
Please post up in the comments below and share.
Learn how to tie these together. Check out my brand new 120 Day Functional Fitness Training Program right here below!
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