SAN DIEGO, Calif. – May 20, 2003 – Whether it’s walking, hiking or lifting, functional strength is needed to successfully complete the task. The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s nonprofit fitness advocate, suggests incorporating functional strength training into your existing exercise program to enhance coordination, strength and endurance in everyday activities.
Functional strength training focuses on exercising several muscles and joints together rather than working a particular muscle or group of muscles independently, resulting in an individual being able to perform daily activities with greater ease.
“If functional strength training is utilized safely and correctly in conjunction with conventional strength training, it can help an individual not only improve their performance of a goal movement, but also enhance their overall well-being,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for ACE.
If done properly, the strength gained in functional exercises should more directly transfer to real-life activities. For example, if individuals want to improve their abilities to climb stairs with greater ease and less discomfort, they should perform squats or step-ups to train the muscles in a manner that closely simulates physiological requirements of the stair-climbing movement.
In order for functional strength exercises to successfully transfer to daily activities, the exercises need to mimic the goal movement by incorporating several factors. These factors include:
- Types of muscle contractions (concentric, eccentric and isometric)
- Speed of movement
- Range of motion
Once individuals decide to integrate functional strength training into their regular exercise routines, they should consult a certified personal trainer to develop an effective program. According to Dr. Bryant, “Functional strength training is becoming increasingly popular because it offers individuals a practical way to enhance their abilities to safely, effectively, and efficiently perform activities of daily living and recreational sports activities.”
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s “workout watchdog,” ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.