Back to main education manual page

FUNCTIONAL DYNAMICS TECHNIQUE

The functional dynamics has its roots in functional resistance training. Today the buzzword in the gym is functional training. It has many meanings to many practitioners in the health and fitness industry. The understanding and implementation of functional training has come from a variety of sources. Functional training has its origins in rehabilitation. Physical therapists developed exercises that mimicked what patients did at home or work in order to return to their lives or jobs after an injury or surgery. Thus, if a patient’s job required repeated heavy lifting, rehabilitation would be targeted towards heavy lifting; if the patient were the parent of young children, it would be targeted towards moderate lifting and endurance; and if the patient were a marathon runner, training would be targeted towards rebuilding endurance.



Functional training mainly involves weight-bearing activities targeted at core muscles of the abdomen and lower back. Most fitness facilities have a variety of weight training machines that target and isolate specific muscles. As a result the movements do not necessarily bear any relationship to the movements people make in their regular activities or sports. Functional training attempts to adapt or develop exercises that allow individuals to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries.

Functional training leads to better muscular balance and joint stability, possibly reducing the number of injuries sustained and improving an individual’s performance in a sport. These benefits may arise from the use of training that emphasizes the body’s natural ability to move in three anatomical planes of motion. In comparison, though machines can often be safer to use, they restrict movement to a single plane of motion, which is an unnatural form of movement for the body and may potentially lead to faulty movement patterns or injury.

Isolation training achieves results in terms of increasing muscle mass and strength because it allows you to fatigue individual muscles, but this often comes at the expense of physical freedom. Have you seen how some body builders walk around stiff and rigid? This is often the result of a lot of isolated exercises based on training individual muscle groups like a biceps curl. Athletes, on the other hand, may use isolated training, but will then use integrated training to achieve more effective movement patterns.

A helpful way to see functional exercises in action is through what Paul Chek describes as "Primal patterns.” Chek calls them Primal, as they were the functional movement patterns we used to survive as early man, including:
- Push
- Pull
- Twist
- Lunge
- Squat
- Bend

Specific functional vs. non-functional exercises:
- Non-Functional Functional
- Bench press Push up
- Lat pull down Pull up
- Seated triceps extension Dip
- Leg extension Lunge
- Leg press Squat

The body only knows movement as it relates to function.

The Functional dynamics technique follows the guidelines of perfect training and offers some other features and benefits:



THREE DIMENSIONAL NATURAL AND FUNCTIONAL MULTIAXIS MOVEMENTS

Everyday natural motion demands movement in all directions. Exercises that force us to make one-joint single-axis movements are simply less effective and less useful and can sometimes cause stress on involved joints. In contrast, the Freestyler device allows exercising using natural body movements. When creating the Functional dynamics technique the basic principles of PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) were incorporated. They may be summarized as the use of spiral and diagonal movement patterns, recruitment of all movement components (e.g. flexion-extension), movement free of pain but not free of effort, comfortable full-range movement, application of maximal resistance throughout the range of non-ballistic movement, use of resistance to promote overflow (irradiation) of muscle activity, and use of multiple joint and muscle action.



DIFFERENT TYPES OF MUSCULAR CONTRACTION

The Freestyler device enables different types of muscular contraction even within a single exercise, a rarity among known methods of training. Physical exercise science has come to an agreement that exercising in eccentric conditions is more effective than exercising in concentric conditions only. An advantageous characteristic of elastic resistance is the balance between these two ways of exercising. With this method the amount of training in eccentric conditions can continually increase toward the end of rehabilitation or during advanced training. A more effective eccentric component has been proven as a specific feature of controlled exercising on the Freestyler device.



SYNCHRONIZED WHOLE BODY WORKOUT

A synchronized whole-body workout also promotes specific benefits. The first and most obvious benefit is a whole body coordination that is possible only with the cooperation of many factors involved. Throughout the test period Functional dynamics principles were exposed to different practical applications. Our voluntary test subjects reported feeling a whole body workout, in contrast to feeling a local fatigue associated with conventional means of training. This means that no pain or any other discomfort was felt during the entire workout, even during periods of maximum calorie burn.



CONTINUOUS EXERCISE FLOW (BODY FLOW)

The way elastic tubes are attached allows continuous exercise flow. It means you can progress from one exercise to another without changing equipment or significantly changing body position. Workout routines choreographed to music ensure fluid transitions between exercises, which assures continuous workout intensity.



ASSURED MUSCLE BALANCE

All choreographies in the Freestyler exercise system are developed in a way which assures balanced muscle strength in the lateral (left right) plane, agonist – antagonist muscle balance, which is balance between working muscle and muscle on the opposite side of the joint, and also a balance between upper and lower parts of the body.

The muscles of the body are mostly arranged in opposing pairs. When one muscle in the body is stronger than the other, muscle imbalance occurs, which leads to improper body alignment or possible injury. Muscle imbalance distorts alignment and sets the stage for undue stress and strain on joints, ligaments and muscles (Kendall et al. 1993). For example, we use our arms in front of our body to lift, carry, eat, drive, and work on the computer. This causes the development of stronger and shorter anterior deltoids and pectorals (front of shoulder) compared with posterior deltoids and rotator cuff (back of shoulder). Hours of sitting at a desk with slumped posture can further aggravate this muscle imbalance by weakening and stretching the posterior deltoids, middle trapezius, and rhomboids. This in turn produces rounded shoulders with tight pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, and anterior deltoid (Clippinger-Robertson 1989).

Correction involves strengthening the upper back and stretching the chest. To promote flexibility, joint stability, and muscle balance, the fitness professional must include exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles pairs appropriately.

All Freestyler programs follow and execute these demands. Assured muscle balance is found in all choreographies in the Freestyler exercise system. This is extremely important since improper muscle balance accounts for most sports related injuries.


MAXIMUM RANGE OF MOTION

The Freestyler allows you to achieve maximum muscle activation and greater strength gains. The Functional dynamics system on the Freestyler device is superior to mainstream methods of training because it simulates a full range of natural human movements.



CORE STABILITY

The aim of core stability training is to effectively recruit the trunk musculature and then learn to control the position of the lumbar spine during dynamic movements. When the "core muscles” are weak or there is an imbalance, a common side effect is back pain. By definition, the deep-trunk muscles act as "stabilizers” and are not involved in producing movements. Furthermore, they must act as stabilizers continuously throughout everyday activities as well as fitness and sport activities, and so require very good endurance of low-level forces. These muscles do not need to be very strong, but they must be correctly coordinated and capable of working continuously. In addition, we want these stabilizer muscles to act by holding the lumbar spine in the neutral position, which is the correct alignment of the pelvis that allows for the natural ‘S’ curve of the spine. These characteristics underpin the deep-trunk muscle training in all of the programs in the Freestyler group workout system, especially in the Pilates program.



BASIC TRAINING PRINCIPLES

The principles of training derive from knowledge of the human body and its reactions to the functioning of the skeletal muscles. Always and everywhere the seven "sacred” principles of workout have to be taken into account. This principles are incorporated in all workout programs: overload, regeneration, specificity, adaptation, individuality, periodisation and planning principle.



PROPRIOCEPTIVE WORKOUT

From the initial pursuit of rehabilitation goals, proprioceptive workouts currently play an important role in prevention of injuries (especially of the ankle, knee and shoulder joints), and in the improvement of strength, static of the backbone and quality of movement control in general. For young people, the goal is to prepare for more serious strength training, whereas for older ages the aim is to prevent injury and to develop functional strength and coordination.

Other benefits of proprioceptive training include:
- improved intermuscular and intramuscular coordination,
- increased ability to respond,
- reduced risk of injury and falling,
- improved posture and motion sequences,
- training everyday functions and sport-specific motion sequences while making,
- elimination of functional muscle contractures,
- dynamic and goal-oriented strength training,
- improving venous return flow.



VISUALISATION TECHNIQUES

The great advantage of visualization is that by merely imagining the action, the same neuron firing occurs as if we had actually performed the act. It also gives an instructor a supreme methodological tool for enhancing the technique of those who attend one of three group workout classes.