Yesterday night a friend of mine texted me asking a few training questions as he often does. He is a guy who has been in and out off the gym more times than I can count on two hands. But he is a genuine guy and he really wants to train. He just hasn’t found the type of fitness plan that suits his personality and he turned to me, asking me a few questions about the Functional Training program.
Keep in mind I’m no expert but I have personal experience and knowledge from my own fitness path, and that is more accurate and powerful than any paper or Ph.D. you might get.
So while I had no idea what the particular functional training program of his gym might include, I could already understand that it would be something of bodyweight exercises, bands, TRX and some form of cardio( HIIT, Intervals etc).
After discussing a little bit as we always do, I came up with the idea of creating a series of articles and videos inspired by the Gym, apart, of course, the standard Training Day segment.
So today I will go over the Type of Exercise Program you should choose depending on your goals, your body’s structure and the way you want to express your fitness. Below I will describe mainly the areas that may not be well known.
So if your goal is:
Bodybuilding: This Training Style focuses the resistance that your body can withstand in the form of reps, sets and intensity/volume with the goal of triggering hypertrophy for the muscles to grow and become bigger and stronger. Bodybuilding is mainly an exercise routine that aspires towards the visual perfection of the trainee depending on his genetic structure, diet, environment, daily activity.
A Typical Bodybuilding Training Week is:
- Monday: Chest
- Tuesday: Back
- Wednesday: Legs
- Thursday: Shoulders
- Friday: Arms
- Saturday-Sunday: Rest Days
Strongman: This Training Style focuses on strength, power and speed. Being able to perform as strong and as fast as you can on particular exercises/events like the atlas stone ladder or the sled push/pull. In contrast, Strongman Athletes don’t care about looks and mostly consume huge amounts of food in order to perform at their best.
A few of the Events a Strongman is training for are:
- Atlas Stones
- Axle Press
- Car Flip
- Dumbbell Press
- Fingal’s Fingers
- Frame Carry
- Keg Toss
- Conan’s Circle
- Deadlift hold
- Hercules hold
- Vehicle pull
- Log Clean and Press
- Tire Flip
- Yoke Carry
- Farmers Walk
- Husafell Stone
- Sand Bag Carry
- Power stairs
Powerlifting: This Training Style focuses on the three major lifts The Deadlift/Bench/Squat while a major component is your bodyweight pounds to lifting pounds strength. That’s why as in weightlifting people compete on weight classes and compare their scores across the board.
A typical Training Week for a powerlifter is:
- Monday: Bench/Deadlift/Squat 75% Effort
- Wednesday:Bench/Deadlift/Squat 85% Effort
- Friday:Bench/Deadlift/Squat 95-100% Effort
- Sunday: Accessory Work and or Cardio
Crossfit: This Training Style prescription is performing “functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity across different domains.” CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program. The CrossFit program is designed to elicit as broad an adaptational response as possible. CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are as follows:
- Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance
Weightlifting: This Training Style focuses on maximum power, speed and efficiency on the two major lifts:
- Clean & Jerk
If you ever watch a weightlifting training video especially before a competition you will notice that weightlifters train like powerlifters with the focus being on power and speed. These are the two components for a successful Clean and Jerk-Snatch. In addition, they train the basics. These are the Deadlift-Squat-Overhead Press with all the variations included( Front Squat, Overhead Squat, Pause, Rack Deadlift, Push Press etc) while using High Pull, Power Snatch, Power Clean etc. They use accessory work like lower back extensions with a bar or lower back extension balance with 5-pound plates on the back.
Building Cardiovascular Capacity and Body Functionality
HIIT and HIIT Cardio: High-intensity interval training (HIIT), is a form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition as well as improved glucose metabolism. Compared with other regimens, HIIT may not be as effective for treating hyperlipidemia and obesity, or improving muscle and bone mass. Some researchers also note that HIIT requires “an extremely high level of subject motivation,” and question whether the general population could safely or practically tolerate the extreme nature of the exercise regimen.
A typical HIIT Cardio session can be: 1 min. of fast running, 1 min slow walking 1 min fast running, 30 seconds walking for 15 minutes.
A typical HIIT bodybuilding session can be: 1 Maximum effort set( As many repetitions and weight you can do till failure) on Bench press, Strict Shoulder press, Dumbbell flies, Tricep pushdowns.
Creator of HIIT training was Heavy Duty Mike Mentzer. Famous users were 6-time Mr.Olympia Dorian Yates.
Swimming: is the individual or team sport and activity. Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with events in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. In addition to these individual events, Olympic swimmers also participate in relays.
Running( Sprinting/Long Distance): is the individual or team sport and activity.Competitive running is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with events like the 100-meter running, 200-meter running 400-meter running and the list goes on.
Crossfit: See the Category Above
Calisthenics: This Training Style focuses on exercises consisting of a variety of gross motor movements; often rhythmical and generally without equipment or apparatus they are, in essence, body-weight training. They are intended to increase body strength, body fitness, and flexibility, through movements such as pulling or pushing oneself up, bending, jumping, or swinging, using only one’s body weight for resistance; usually conducted in concert with stretches. When performed vigorously and with variety, calisthenics can provide the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility, and coordination.
Yoga: While this is not Training Style per say if done right and with the right instructor, you can learn how to breathe right, how to move right through different positions and stance and create body functionality, enhance metabolism and unlock numerous benefits. This is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in India. There is a broad variety of schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most well-known types of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga.
Building Explosiveness and Learning How to Fight
Any Type Of Martial Arts Training will do but some are more well known and can fit your personality better. A few examples are:
- Wrestling: a combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two (occasionally more) competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There is a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems.
- Tai Chi: movements and
- Boxing: boxing gloves.
- Jiu-Jitsu: Jiu-Jitsu comes in 4 different types
- Jujutsu, Traditional Japanese martial art and part of ancient Bushido, or samurai education
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu, modern martial art, self-defense techniques and combat sport.
- German jiu-jitsu, martial art related to Japanese Jujutsu developed in Germany
- Atemi Jiu-Jitsu, modern martial art developed in France
- MMA(Mixed Martial Arts): A form of training combat and sport( UFC) that includes all martial arts and lets the athlete use whichever he/she wants in training and combat. MMA fighters learn how to box, kickbox, how to wrestle etc. Of course, everybody in the MMA community has a strong inclination towards a specific martial art. Example being Conor Mcgregor who is better at kickboxing than his latest opponent Nate Diaz who was a two-time, black belt Jiu-Jitsu Fighter.
- All other sports
- Traditional Dances
- Any other Dance you might like. For example, when I was a teenager I loved breakdancing and pop-locking. I still do actually and when I get the chance in a party or friend gathering I throw up a few moves.
I train like an athlete and I don’t like to label myself. While the majority of my training is Bodybuilding and Powerlifting I always find time to throw in some CrossFit, Weightlifting, Running and in summer, I Swim every single day while I enjoy riding a bike, dance et cetera. I’m an advocate and a fan of fitness and that’s why I do it all. That’s who I’m. You should choose the exercise that makes you feel good and is aligned with your goals. Focus on technique and form on any type of exercising to avoid injuries and give your body the energetical charge and discharge it needs. Take a gym class, find a good personal trainer, learn how to dance, go lift some heavy weights with proper form, learn how to fight and move accordingly. But always remember that you need to give the body the necessary fuel to function properly. That’s why personal diet and rest plays a vital importance in how you perform and how your fitness and training evolves.
Train, Express yourself, Eat Healthy Foods, Rest Properly and Don’t Quit. Cause quitting becomes a habit.