Body Building or Functional Circuits? A Guide on Choosing the Best Workout for You
DISCLAIMER: this article does not provide any professional advice or medical information, so the author takes no responsibility for your use of the information provided here. If you need such type of information, you'd better ask your personal trainer or your doctor.
Going to Gym
Going to gym is a very useful activity in order to keep our body beautiful and healthy. The most popular type of gym over the years has been the body building place, the classical gym full of strength machines where you can train all your muscles by doing different exercises. But there is another type of gym that has become very popular in the last years, and especially in the USA is going to achieve a great success: the functional training gym. In this hub I will analyze both types of training, in order you can choose what type of gym is more suitable for you.
Body Building consists in training with various types of strength machines or weights in order to develope muscles. This type of activity consists in training single muscles, by doing one exercise at a time. In every exercise you are engaged in a fixed movement: for example, in the leg curl machine you will train only your legs, by doing a fixed movement. In this case, in order to train all your muscles equally, you will need to follow a training program written by a personal trainer.
The advantage of body building is that, by using strength machines, you are forced in your movement, so there are less risks of doing the exercise badly. If you are training with weights you have more freedom in movements, but are still limited by your strength and ability to keep the weight. The main disadvantage of body building is that, by doing only fixed movements, you are training only your strength, but not other aspects of your body, like agility and speed. So body-building is mainly reccomended for those people who want just to improve their body esthetically and want to train their muscles to resist to heavy weights. Instead, if your training goals are not limited to beauty and strength, but you also want to improve your agility and, in general, to prepare your body to better afford activities of every day (like bringing bags from the supermarket), it is probably better to train as a body builder while also practicing other sports. Otherwise, you can just follow one type of training without doing different activities: in this case, you can try Functional Training.
Functional Training started to become popular in the last years, and especially in USA it is now a frequent choice in gyms. This type of activity does not involve the use of complex strength machines and the main goal is to prepare body to better afford activities common in the daily life. In order to achieve this, exercises are not limited on a single muscle like in body building, but every workout is made in order to train simultaneously all your muscles, and at the same time, these exercises are free in movements, so that you will not only improve strength, but also speed and agility. So this type of training is particular reccomended for those people who need to train their body in general, without particular references to strength. In addition to that, functional training is also practiced in rehabilitation for those people who are unable to move perfectly and for people with posture problems. This type of training involves different activities, like squats, burpees, pushups, pullups, dips, wall ball, running and jumping on boxes or exercises with kettlebells, cable machines, medicine balls and other various types of tools.
I started by training with body building activities in a gym. Recently a new functional gym has opened just near my house, and so I decided to try functional training. Now I alternate functional training with strength circuits, I train 5 days a week, and I am very satisfied of my results, however everyone should choose the type of training that best fits his needs and goals.
The video below shows some typical exercises practiced in functional training.
A more intensive training is done in crossfit activities. In fact functional training is very similar to crossfit, and it can be useful to train yourself in order to be prepared to crossfit activities!
And you, what type of training are you engaged in?
© 2015 Alessio Ganci