What Is Functional Training?

Have you heard about functional training yet? It’s one of the most popular fitness boot camp classes in our Bethlehem gym. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, though, you might think that this is another gym fad. Not only is functional training not a fad (it’s actually been around for decades!), it could be the fitness routine that you’ve been looking for to elevate your physical performance. That’s because functional training isn’t about training for a weight-lifting competition you never want to enter or training for a marathon that you never want to run. Instead, it’s about conditioning your body to perform it’s best in everyday, regular activities. It’s real-life training for real-life conditions.

Functional Training 101

How Does Functional Training Work?

Functional training focuses on two main areas:

  • Strengthening your core. You rely on your core muscles more than you probably realize that you do. Your core muscles are in the middle of your body; they are the muscles that make up your stomach, lower and mid-back, and your sides. Strengthening the core muscles is especially important for avoiding lower back injuries.
  • Conditioning your muscles and joints to work together. When your muscles and joints work together as a single cohesive unit, you’ll get a stronger and more powerful performance out of them. That way no matter what activity that you are doing, you’ll get the best performance out of your body because it understands how to work as a single unit.

Functional training grew out of some of the exercises that physical therapists use with their clients to rehabilitate their muscles and help them get ready to perform everyday tasks again after they’ve been injured. Physical therapists would create exercises that helped their clients gain the strength and functional ability to do things like go up and down stairs, lift a heavy box, or stretch for items high on a shelf. Functional training uses the same concepts and ideas as physical therapy and takes them to the next level. Instead of simply attempting to achieve a goal, functional training wants to help you do it in the most powerful, efficient way possible while helping you avoid injury to your body. You’ll practice and achieve actions such as pushing, pulling, carrying, squatting, and lifting. Functional training can also help you get better at actions that you repeat a lot; for instance, if you love to play baseball, functional training can help train your muscles to get into the correct position and follow through with the correct movement every time you are at bat.

What is the Goal of Functional Training?

Functional training trains your body how to do everyday activities in the most efficient, powerful way possible while also eliminating the risk of injuries. These exercises are going to help you do simple things, like unloading groceries or pushing your children on the swings, with the necessary strength. Building up your core and targeting specific muscle groups means you can do these tasks with a lower risk of pulling your muscles or enduring sprains and strains while also having more endurance to perform tasks longer.

Why You Make Functional Training a Part of Your Fitness Routine

Functional training is all about making yourself better at the everyday activities you need to complete. If you’ve ever pulled your back out when lifting groceries out of the car or find yourself winded when pushing a stroller, you know how frustrating it can be to be out of shape for these daily activities. Functional training will help you train your body to excel at these tasks, so you can focus on your to-do list without worrying about injury or getting tired along the way. It’s as much about training your brain as it is training your body, as you teach your brain to tell your body how and when to move, gaining in performance and power.

Plus, functional training is fun! It’s a break from the monotony of the treadmill or the free weights and can inspire you to stay on track towards your fitness goals.

How We’ve Brought Functional Training to Bethlehem

We offer functional training in The Yard! This is our 4,000 square foot outdoor training yard that’s filled with functional training equipment that, at first, might seem strange. You’ll see equipment that looks more like what you’d see on a playground. Our trainers use a variety of exercises such as press-ups, jumping and leaping exercises to build your explosive power, and even pushing sleds to build up endurance and resistance power. When you see people working out in The Yard, it looks more like they are playing games and having fun! And while functional training is a lot of hard work, it really is as fun as it looks. You’ll get to work out with a lot of like-minded people from the area who are eager to hit their fitness goals and will help cheer you on to reach yours, too.

Are you curious about functional training? Want to see if it’s the right fit for you? Come try it out today. If you aren’t already a member of Steel Fitness, fill out the form on our website and claim your free pass. That way you can try out our functional training fitness boot camp for yourself and see if it’s what you need in order to reach your fitness goals. Don’t worry–if it’s not the right fit, we have dozens of other classes for you to enjoy or you can work with our personal trainers to customize a personal fitness routine. Give us a call, contact us through our webite, or stop by our Bethlehem location to start your new personal fitness routine today!

 

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10 Great Reasons You Should Try Anti-Gravity Exercise Classes

With more than 60 instructor-led classes each week, you’ll have plenty to choose from when you are looking at exercise classes in our Bethlehem gym. From fitness boot camp to cycling and more, there really is something for everyone. If you are looking for a new challenge in your exercise routine, though, you need to check out our anti-gravity exercise class (click on that link to check out a video of the classes in action!). The exercise technique has actually been around since 1991 but it’s only now becoming popular for its benefits in health clubs around the country. The exercise requires some specialized equipment, such as ceiling-suspended hammock-like devices, so you won’t find it in a lot of locations. But when you do (like at our Bethlehem gym!), you need to try it out.

Here are ten reasons that you should sign up for one, too.

Ten Reasons to Try Anti-Gravity Exercise Classes

  1. It works on your core strength.Anti-gravity exercises actually provide a total-body workout, helping you strengthen your body from your head to your toes, but it’s especially good for your core strength. Hanging on the suspended hammock requires you to engage your core to maintain your balance and move into the different positions. That core strength doesn’t just mean a flatter, firmer belly, but increased strength and ability to recover from injuries faster.
  2. The exercises decompress your spine.
    The aerialist routines used in anti-gravity classes require participants to do a variety of yoga poses as well as hang upside-down in the hammock. These movements help to stretch and lengthen the spine. You can actually become taller after a class thanks to your spine stretching and decompressing! Decompressing your spine is something that is often recommended by chiropractors to alleviate pain from conditions such as herniated discs and sciatica nerve pain.
  3. It’s perfect for those working at a desk all day.
    A lot of people are stuck behind a desk all day for work, logging 8, 9, 10 or even more hours of sitting in a desk chair each day. That’s not good for your health, and it’s especially not good for your back. The combination of strength exercises, yoga, and dance used in the anti-gravity classes are great for getting in exercise and combatting the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
  4. Great workout for those with back pain.
    This is one of the benefits that people talk about the most! Many people, even those without back pain, note that their backs feel so much better after they’ve been to an anti-gravity class. That’s because the movements take inspiration from yoga and dance, working to lengthen every muscle in your body, especially those in your back. The decompression that happens can help alleviate pain, too, so you leave class feeling better than you went into it.
  5. It merges athletics and dance.
    If you love to move, this is the class for you. Anti-gravity classes take their inspiration from a variety of disciplines, including athletics, dance, and the aerial arts to combine them into one class. You’ll learn new ways to move your body, strengthening and stretching as you go. It’s great for those who love to dance but need to get strength into the mix, too.
  6. Increases your flexibility.
    These classes are great for increasing your flexibility, thanks in part to the yoga inspired moves. It’s especially good for flexibility in the spine and shoulders since these areas of your body will be controlling a lot of the movement that’s happening in the hammocks. You’ll notice the increase in your flexibility within just a few sessions and be amazed at the difference this can make in your pain levels.
  7. Brings greater awareness of your body.
    Anti-gravity classes are all about bringing greater awareness to your body. You’ll gain control over muscles you didn’t even know existed as you work through the movements and master the aerial arts. That control will increase your body awareness as well as your gracefulness, flexibility, and strength. Many students feel more connected to their body than ever before.
  8. It could help you recover from injuries faster.
    The yoga movements and increase in your muscle strength could actually help you recover from injuries faster. Some participants noted that they are recovering from workouts faster since they started anti-gravity exercise classes. That makes it a great companion class for those who are runners or training for a sport.
  9. It has emotional benefits, too.
    Being suspended in the hammock, swinging, moving, and being suspended aren’t just great for your physical health! This is an exercise class that’s great for your emotional well-being, too. You’ll experience the flood of endorphins that come from a great workout, giving you fuel for the rest of your day (or even the rest of your week!). That can elevate your mood, keep anxiety at bay, and can even help you sleep better at night!
  10. It’s really, really fun.
    The bottom line is this: these classes are a ton of fun. If you are easily bored in other exercise classes and want to find something that will challenge you, keep you interested, and is actually fun, then this is the class for you.

Come Try One of the Classes at Our Fitness Center Today

Are you curious about anti-gravity classes in Bethlehem? You can come try one out for yourself! Simply visit our website and fill out the form to claim your free pass. That will allow you to come in and experience one of our anti-gravity classes for yourself. We welcome all ages and skill levels, and our talented and experienced instructors will make sure that the difficulty level is tailored to your needs. If you don’t like it, you can try out one of our other classes, including fitness boot camp, spinning, and so much more. Sign up to become a member of Steel Fitness and you’ll get to join in any of our 60 or more instructor-led classes each week. Choose as many as you want–they are included in your membership fee!

Have questions about one of our classes or about becoming a member? Give us a call or use the contact form to reach out to our team today.

 

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