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The importance of functional training and basic exercises to improve athletic performance

 The importance of functional training and basic exercises to improve athletic performance

The search for performance improvement is the foundation of athletic goals and is at the heart of most training disciplines in the fitness world. In recent years, fitness - binomial sports has been the subject of numerous studies, and most of the activities in a fitness center are based specifically on achieving a state of general well-being through improving athletic performance.

Developing athletic skills is an essential step in achieving a functional body.

The turning point in the functional method

Functional training method, in addition to revolutionizing the method of training, has allowed us to achieve various goals. Among them, to make the body harmonious and efficient, both in daily activities and in sports performance, with the aim of raising our level.

There are several definitions of the concept of functional function, some of which allow us to understand the importance of this training method: as Michael Boyle describes in his book Functional Training for the Athlete, this method corresponds to a series of exercises that teach athletes to manage body weight at all levels of movement.

Boyle also stresses the importance of the concept of job in defining job training by considering job as the target, and describing job training as synonymous with target training. Functional training is a method that changes the purpose of exercises to incorporate the stabilizing muscles that are the basis of physical well-being.

Functional training is a series of exercises that teach athletes how to manage their body weight at all levels of movement. Michael Boyle

The effectiveness of functional training comes from the fact that it is a structured method based on solid foundations such as:

universality of movement, which makes us think about the body without allowing analytically significant activation of the central nervous system;

versatility of movement.

The concept of training the work of each muscle but also the function for which it has evolved over the years within its chain.

The role of the torso in athletic performance

Another feature of this functional training is the creation of a strong and stable core.

As we will see, thanks to its properties, the trunk plays a fundamental role in sports performance, as it determines:

  • torso stability
  • position control
  • Mobility, allowing the body to move


What is a trunk?

What exactly is a torso, and from what muscles does it consist? Why do we use functional training to get fit? Why is core exercise so important to balance athletes in team sports? First, we can imagine the torso as a container with the front part consisting of the abdominal muscles, the back of the spinal and gluteal muscles, the bottom of the pelvic floor and hip muscles, and the top of the diaphragm.

The task of the muscles that make up this box is to stabilize the spine, pelvis and motor chains. But let's see in detail what muscles make up this structure.

As mentioned earlier, the torso consists of two systems that work in synergy: the stabilization system and the locomotion system, which share muscles.

The fixation system includes the muscles in the abdominal girdle: the rectus abdominis, the external obliques, the internal obliques, the transverse abdomen, the pelvic floor and the diaphragm; Dorsally we find the lumbar quadrant, the multifidus, the transverse lumbar spine, and the spinous springs.

In the movement system there are the rectus abdominis, the vertebral column, the external oblique and the square loin, already mentioned in the first system, as well as the adductor muscle, the quadriceps muscle, the hamstrings, and the gluteus maximus muscle. As we can see, the muscles involved are numerous, which makes us We understand the importance of this structure in the development of not only sports but also and above all daily activities. Below is a comprehensive definition of the luggage compartment functions:

The ability to control the position and movement of the torso above the pelvis, thereby enabling the production, transmission, monitoring of forces and the transition to the peripheral segments, with the inclusion of kinetic chain activities. All of these characteristics can be improved with good functional training and effective core exercises.

Trunk exercises, the cornerstone of functional training for athletes

These are the reasons why we consider core stability activities as a basis for athletic preparation and general fitness. Basic stability is defined as the area of ​​training capable of improving neuromuscular control and energy from the trunk to the extremities.

Bailey provided a definition to support this concept:

“The only certainty is that instability is a training stimulus on which a philosophy of concrete action can be based on a movement, not a specific muscle.”

From this definition we conclude the importance of trunk training: in a universal and non-analytical way, considering the body as a set of muscle chains that work together to make any movement qualitatively perfect.

Functional training to make the body work

Complete basic functional training is necessary to make the body work at its full potential. Proper progression in exercise management is very important for the training program to be effective.

You should perform stability exercises first, preferring sweeping movements or exercises with firm supports and isometric activities (such as plank and side plank).

With the improvement of capabilities should come an increase in the intensity of functional training, incorporation of exercises with unstable support bases (then resort to proprioception exercises, balance pads, wellness balls, etc.) extension) and rotation (anti-rotation).

Basic exercises to improve stability

Returning to our goal, which is to emphasize the importance of torso stability through functional training for athletic performance, assuming that the spine participates in any sport by maintaining a balance of posture and the transmission of force between the lower and upper extremities, and that the appropriate use of the abdominal region in support of the muscles of the lower pelvic region Reduces the impact on the intervertebral discs. What we want to achieve is stable support for all movements that occur in the sport during sudden changes in direction and sudden acceleration.

Running puts a lot of stress on the tissues due to the constant rotational movements and multiple compressive forces. By analyzing the movement, we note that on the sagittal plane there are constant flexion and extension movements, while there is permanent rotation on the transverse and frontal planes.

For these reasons, the weakness and instability of the trunk, because it is not effective in absorbing shocks, causes back pain for the athlete and impairs his performance. A good reason to start functional basic training.

Cycling is another discipline in which the trunk plays a large role. The stem represents the force on which the correct position in the saddle depends. The stable position of the cyclist associated with the regularity of movements means a great effort at this level. Poor activation of the abdominal area has a negative pedal effect and significantly reduces the application of force to the pedal.

Contact sports provide other examples of the importance of gaining a functional core through training of the same name. It is essential to have an excellent balance to counteract the impacts and to be able to respond in an optimal way to the inconsistencies of gameplay.

Just think of the many instability in basketball, or changes in direction on an unstable ground in football, or even slowdowns and major influences in rugby: in these sports, a strong core accustomed to functional training allows for the development of the forces necessary for the movements sports and thus reduce or avoid the risk of injury or trauma.

These few examples allow us to understand the importance of functional training and the use of the trunk in sports movements, as well as in everyday activities. They draw attention to the problems that can arise if this structure is not strong enough: from simply misusing the potential of your body to the possibility of injury.

Incorporating core exercises into your training program, creating real and accurate functional training or identifying the possibility of a suitable placement, is fundamental to improving body function and performance.


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