Func­tional fun­da­men­tals

If full-fledged func­tional train­ing seems too in­tim­i­dat­ing, try this be­gin­ner’s class, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup

New Straits Times - - Heal -

FUEL Ath­let­ics is a gym chain that fo­cuses on func­tional train­ing. It has branches in Bukit Da­mansara and Shah Alam. I be­lieve func­tional train­ing is sim­i­lar to CrossFit but with­out the trade­mark and li­cens­ing fee. Ac­cord­ing to medical web­site may­, the aim of func­tional train­ing is to train the mus­cles to work to­gether and pre­pare them for daily tasks. This is done by sim­u­lat­ing com­mon move­ments that peo­ple might do at home, at work or in sports.

“A squat is a func­tional ex­er­cise be­cause it trains the mus­cles used when get­ting up from a chair or pick­ing up low ob­jects,” it says. “Ex­er­cise tools, such as fit­ness balls, ket­tle bells and weights are of­ten used in func­tional fit­ness work­outs.”

To get be­gin­ners fully on board with func­tional train­ing, Fuel Ath­let­ics has in­tro­duced an eight-ses­sion course called El­e­ments Class. Once com­pleted, the at­tendee can move on to CrossFit or func­tional train­ing classes.

Trainer Amira on the bar­bell.


I joined an El­e­ments Class in Shah Alam re­cently with­out hav­ing any idea as to what it might en­tail. The trainer, Amira, got us started with jump­ing jacks, squats and moun­tain clim­bers in 15-sec­ond rep­e­ti­tions.

These are whole body ex­er­cises that tar­get var­i­ous mus­cles and raise the heart rate, and are very ben­e­fi­cial on their own. But here they serve as a warm-up be­fore we get to the crux of the class, which is strength train­ing and con­di­tion­ing.

Amira gives us plas­tic poles to learn the fun­da­men­tals of weightlift­ing. We learn strict press, where we raise the bar over our heads. Then push press, where you squat a lit­tle be­fore stand­ing straight lift­ing the pole. The fi­nal move is push jerk, where you jump slightly to ex­tend your feet to a wider stance be­fore rais­ing the pole.

We then move on to us­ing ac­tual bar­bells, al­though with­out any at­tached weights. It’s still quite heavy though, and I think we spend more time hav­ing our lift­ing tech­niques cor­rected than ac­tu­ally lift­ing. But that’s just how it is when you’re do­ing some­thing for the first time.

Over­all, it re­minds me of watch­ing weightlifters at the Olympics. How­ever, I lack co­or­di­na­tion.


The fi­nal part of the class in­volves lift­ing 6kg dumb­bells and jump­ing on a box. The lat­ter was in­tim­i­dat­ing, I think the box was about

Seksyen 13, Shah Alam or Bukit Da­mansara

El­e­ments Class, a pro­gramme to teach the fun­da­men­tal move­ments of func­tional train­ing in eight ses­sions.

Depend­ing on gym mem­ber­ship du­ra­tion of three, six or 12 months.

Suit­able for


clothes and shoes

45 min­utes to one


Gym The box jump is one of the fun­da­men­tals of func­tional train­ing. 60cm high. There’s a kind of men­tal block that you need to over­come first be­cause it doesn’t feel pos­si­ble that you can jump that high.

But we man­age to do it, to the cheers of other more ex­pe­ri­enced gym mem­bers who are on a break from their own (much heav­ier) weightlift­ing ses­sion. Be­cause the gym is just one big space, hav­ing other peo­ple there can be en­cour­ag­ing or dis­cour­ag­ing but I find the whole ex­pe­ri­ence to be pos­i­tive.

Weightlift­ing is new for me and I quite en­joy it. It doesn’t strain your heart so much and be­ing able to do it leaves you feel­ing strong and sat­is­fied.

I was told that each ses­sion has a dif­fer­ent pro­gramme that should cover all the ba­sics of func­tional train­ing. Like most work­outs, you de­pend on rep­e­ti­tion to make the ex­er­cise ef­fec­tive but you could also push your­self fur­ther by lift­ing heav­ier weights.

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