If full-fledged functional training seems too intimidating, try this beginner’s class, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup
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 mayoclinic.org, 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.
RAISE THE BAR
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.
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.