Do you workout? Why?
Are you considering beginning a fitness routine? Why is that?
Functional fitness is a buzzword nowadays which apparently can meaning anything from training to flip 300lb tires to training to swing a heavy and long mace around your head for ten minutes at a time. But how should we define if one is "functionally fit"?
Technology has made our lives easier and thus led to our generally sedentary lifestyles. I train individuals to help them enhance their quality of life through strength, empowerment, better health and longevity.
Here are three tests one can do to check to see how truly functionally fit they are in comparison to our majority sedentary population. These tests can also serve as goals or benchmarks in your fitness journey from sedentary to strong- so be sure to take an initial assessment and compare where you're at after being active for awhile!
1. Sit down onto a chair and stand up with no hands
Chair arms were designed for convenience. When we utilize them hundreds of times a day, we're neglecting our body's need to use our lower body in a natural strength capacity.
If you've never done this or had the ability to do this, start seated. Ensure your feet are flat on the ground and that your heels are aligned underneath your knees. The width of your knees is totally your preference. It's going to feel weird to think about doing this for the first time and you're definitely going to psych out- just know it is all in your head.
Drive with your hips in a diagonal line upwards until you are standing (check out this video for a more detailed idea of what I mean). For first few attempts you might need to employ the arm rests as a spot check, but before long you'll be doing this with ease. This is how your body was designed to stand up from a seated position, and every single time you do it, you're gaining strength in your lower body, abs and back.
From standing, lead with your hips back downward to sit down.
Congrats, you've just eliminated the need for assistive technology for one of the most basic movements- sitting down and standing up, aka the squat.
2. Lie down onto the ground and stand back up with no hands
Everyone is going to perform this one differently due to the differences in body types.
How easy does it sound? Give it a shot. I did this video challenge in my private facebook group and then I posted a solution video. Check it out:
3. Do #2, but while holding something in your hands
Once you're feeling safe and confident every which way upside down and backwards with #2, now grab something with two hands and give it a shot.
How does it feel? Psyched out all over again, huh? That's normal, just keep practicing and make sure your environment is safe from all obstructions.
How heavy can you go?
Your initial assessment metric will be your starting point. Can you do it with a 5lb dumbbell? An 8kg kettlebell?
Keep training in your fitness regimen. How much weight can you do this with six to eight weeks from today?
There are many places we can go from here such as:
Can you do #3 while holding something overhead?
Can you do #1 while holding something heavy in both hands?
Can you do #2 using just one foot ("pistol" style)?
and on and on and on.
The point is, you don't have to use pushups or jumping jacks to display or test your strength, mobility and truly functional fitness. Just move your body in ways it was designed to move, without assistive technology.
And if your goal is training for general strength and quality of life, these three test/benchmarks/goals are great guides to see where you've come from and where you're going.
Join the facebook group to talk about these challenges with a fun and supportive community of folks- and even post videos of your attempts!
See you there.
Want to get strong through fitness or by going to the gym but aren't sure where to start? I created www.whatdoidoatthegym.com to help you with that. Check it out.