Functional

“The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone. The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone…”

You are a miraculous, magnificent creation. Your body is an intricate web of functioning parts. Each member relies on the others to work together in harmony. Shouldn’t your training reflect that?

As Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit says- the training needs of myself and my grandmother differ in degree not kind. We should basically be doing the same movements, hers just won’t be as heavy.

What I love about CrossFit is that along with being infinitely scalable, it’s also functional. That term has been thrown around a bunch lately so let’s just dive in and take a look at what functional is and isn’t, shall we?

Functional movements are:

1) Natural- movements you do in every day life.

2) Compound- this means they are multi-joint movements.

3) Irreducible- they shouldn’t be broken down into individual parts. Take the letter A for instance:

Functional movements are not:

1) Contrived- movements that I have to force to happen or that don’t occur in my normal daily activities. I don’t live on a trampoline or in a state of constant imbalance. Therefore, swiss ball or balance training is not functional movement.

2) Isolated- tasks performed in daily life require compound joint movement. Try to sit to the potty without bending your knees.

The takeaway is this:

Tricep kickbacks, calf raises, and the like are a great way to “feel the burn” but they’re not likely to help you when you have to lift a heavy box down from the top of the closet. A push press with dumbbells or a barbell on the otherhand…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is a time and place for isolated movements, instability training and/or contrived positions. These would be included in rehab, pre-hab or as accessory work to combat imbalances you may have. The Crossover Symmetry system is designed to strengthen the rotator cuff, which is a much maligned body part. The extra attention here is not a workout per se but an adjunctive therapy.

Work your body as the whole, functioning organism it is and I have no doubt you’ll see results that will make you smile!

The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 1 Corinthians 12:21

chrisAbout the Author

Dr. Chris Biles, DC is the head trainer and owner of CrossFit Waxahachie. He is a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer and is passionate about all things fitness. He has competed for many years in adventure racing, mountain and road bike racing, and marathons. His main sport now is the Sport of Fitness- CrossFit.

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