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A full-body workout

Strength, conditioning and functional training offers a 360-degree care to the body

Anwar Wahhab | Published 24.07.22, 02:40 AM
Cycling, swimming, running, skipping are examples of cardiovascular exercises.

Cycling, swimming, running, skipping are examples of cardiovascular exercises.

Sourced by The Telegraph

Being physically active, mobile and strong is a priority that indeed cannot be taken lightly. Long gone are days of walking five kilometres being defined a workout. People have challenged their bodies by adopting new workout programmes. Some swear by an absolute weight training regimen, a few are strongly convinced of HIIT being the most supreme method of training, while some believe in yoga. It truly can be quite confounding with all the various methods and forms of training — resistance training, strength, functional and conditioning training, cardiovascular training, and so on. Let’s explore the different forms of exercise in details.

Cardiovascular training

Cardiovascular exercises comprise aerobics that are vigorous in nature and elevate the heart rate and respiration, leading to profuse perspiration, panting, and an increase in blood flow and oxygen transport in the blood. Cycling, swimming, running, skipping, are examples of cardiovascular exercises. These exercises enhance the functioning and performance of the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and the circulatory system.

Resistance maybe in the form of dumb-bell, barbell, kettlebell, bands or any weight

Resistance maybe in the form of dumb-bell, barbell, kettlebell, bands or any weight

Sourced by The Telegraph

Resistance training

Resistance training or strength training increases muscle strength by training the body to work against a resistance and to overcome that particular resistance. Resistance maybe in the form of dumb-bell, barbell, kettlebell, bands or any weight. When performing exercises against a resistance, the intended muscles contract, which in turn leads to strengthening of the muscle fibres and connective tissues of the joints. Resistance training also enhances bone density; joint functions; tendon, ligament and cartilage strength; and, endurance when practised consistently.

Football players perform agility and speed drills that condition their body and mind to play the actual game

Football players perform agility and speed drills that condition their body and mind to play the actual game

Sourced by The Telegraph

Conditioning and functional training

The traditional definition of conditioning is a simple form of learning, involving the formation, strengthening or weakening of an association between a stimulus and a response. In terms of fitness, conditioning is the physiological preparation of the body to help it cope with the demands of training. Conditioning aids the body to achieve strength, mobility, fitness and in turn mental awareness of the body’s need and physiological state of well-being, whereas training deals with the technical aspect of the fitness and exercise discipline and regimen.

Strength is a measure of the ability to exert force against resistance and conditioning is the phenomenon and discipline to prepare the mind and body to progressively attain a fitness goal. Conditioning of the body by means of performing squats, lunges, and so on, is essential to build the gluteal muscles, quadriceps muscle, hamstring muscles and core muscles. In simpler terms, conditioning is a method of mental and physical preparation for a particular task. For example, football players perform agility and speed drills that condition their body and mind to play the actual game. Functional training involves exercises that enable one to execute activities in daily life efficiently. The main purpose is to get better at daily task, such as loading a heavy cabin baggage in the overhead compartment in a flight, carrying heavy groceries from the shop to the car, and sustaining prolonged hours of activity at work.

Conditioning of the body by means of performing squats, lunges, and so on is essential to build the gluteal muscles, quadriceps muscle, hamstring muscles and core muscles

Conditioning of the body by means of performing squats, lunges, and so on is essential to build the gluteal muscles, quadriceps muscle, hamstring muscles and core muscles

“A functional workout is simply one that strengthens you in a particular way that directly translates to an activity outside the weight room. The practical application of functional training is to make daily activities easier to perform. A majority of functional training movements are multi-joint, and a functional training programme should incorporate movements in multiple planes,” says Dan Henderson, co-founder of The Functional Training Institute, Australia. That means moving forward and backward, side to side, and incorporating rotational movements.

Conditioning and functional workouts comprise compound exercises which work the whole body as one unit as opposed to the concept of isolation (bicep curl). Squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, bench dips, waist hinge and core rotation simulate daily activities, such as bending to lift an item fallen on the ground. The principle of involving multiple muscle groups to simultaneously work together is an ideal form of exercise to work consistently on.

Strength, conditioning and functional training have stood the test of time. It has been present since a very long time, providing myriad of benefits to those who practise it consistently. From building strength, improving on endurance, enhancing metabolism or aiding in fat loss, this form of training provides it all. Lifting weight is a remarkable measure of one’s ability and resilience to a challenge. Gradual progression of muscle loading not only has physiological benefits but it also trains the mind to build on focus and be more aware of one’s surroundings. Challenging the body is an exceptional method for developing the strength of the mind. There are moments at the gym which prove to be rough and very demanding. To overcome this challenge and succeed requires immense mental strength in addition to physical ability.

Benefits of strength, conditioning and functional trainingPositively alters the body composition: Strength, conditioning and functional training alter the body composition by building on lean muscle and enhances endurance. Lean muscles naturally increase one’s resting metabolic rate and in turn the food we eat is better allocated throughout the body for optimal utilisation of fuel and energy. It is a proven fact that one’s overall well-being is directly and positively correlated to an increase in muscle mass. Muscles make one more agile and mobile as it not only makes us strong but also control our balance and centre of gravity.

Strength, conditioning and functional training aid the loss of stubborn fat and improves metabolic rate: It is imperative to be well-informed so as to better understand the body’s mechanism. It is beyond doubt that orthodox aerobic activities such as running and a short session of cardio-dominant exercises are beneficial to the heart and lungs, however the body requires a lot more than a severe sweat. It is interesting to note that cardio exercises do not increase oxygen flow and improve blood circulation to its most efficient level because it fails to engage the muscles.

When we adopt strength, conditioning and functional training, it leads to maximum oxygen transfer and blood circulation in relation to cardiovascular training. Majority of the body is muscle dominant and by that sheer logic, it is crucial to build on lean muscle mass. This can only be obtained by form resistance training. Muscles require an immense amount of varied nutrition and energy to sustain. It can therefore be easily said beyond a doubt that a greater muscle mass will better utilise nutrition. A greater muscle mass requires greater amount of energy and in turn increases the body’s resting metabolic rate by way of requiring more energy to feed the muscles.

A typical cardio session indisputably benefits the hearts and lungs. However, it has little impact on utilisation of fat which gradually deposits on the organs. Building muscles burn more energy to prevent the deposition of fat and optimises the metabolism at an exponential rate.Enhances the central nervous system: When lifting weights, the nervous system is gradually conditioning to be more responsive and engage itself efficiently.

As a result we are more adept to our immediate environment. Our reflexes are more stable and responsive time is more quicker and efficient. When gripping the barbell, or simply performing lunges, muscles are dominantly put to use. When muscles are engaged in performing compound movements, the nerves are engaged as a response to the movements. As such we condition the nerves to be at its optimal functioning at any given point of time. Imbibing Strength, Conditioning & Functional Training builds a strong neuromuscular system, which improves our cognitive functioning, movement coordination, and response measures.Increase bone density: Strength, conditioning and functional training also leads to strong bones and minimises the onset of osteoporosis.

An amalgamation of age-influenced factors, inactivity, poor nutrition and natural loss of calcium and vitamin D3, gradually diminish bone mass at the rate of one per cent per year after the age of 35 years. With age, bone grow more fragile and are susceptible to fracture even with a minor fall or something as ordinary as bending to tie shoelaces. Research and various studies have proved that strength, conditioning and functional training can not only reduce the rate of bone loss, but also build bones. Such a form of training sets a chain of actions that improves bone-forming cells into their right functioning.

At the time of resistance training, a certain amount of positive stress and load is borne by the bones as a result of ‘tugging and pushing’ of muscles when lifting weight. This act of ‘tugging and pushing’ on bones as a result of training leads to stronger and denser bones.Research has observed that there is no single form of training that has stood as the most effective form of training other than strength, conditioning and functional training. Close observation will make it evident that typically runners excel in speed; however, they are not strong in terms of strength.

Similarly, bodybuilders are very strong, but on the contrary fail to last on sets that are endurance dominant. Yoga practitioners are remarkably agile and flexible for that is what yoga does, but they may falter in cardiovascular training performance or strength training performance.No one organ or system transcends in importance than the other. Every cell, organ, muscle, tissue work together. It is important to adopt strength, conditioning and functional training as the nature of the programme offers a 360-degree care to the body. It includes a combination of the various forms of exercises that provide a holistic approach to the overall well-being of the mind and body.

Anwar Wahhab is a metabolic analytic practitioner and strength and conditioning coach. You can reach him at anwarwahhab@awefitness.com

Last updated on 24.07.22, 02:40 AM
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