Functional exercise may be trendy approach to fitness, but it is as simple and clear as most good ideas are. The approach has figured out that strengthening normal human movement patterns is more beneficial (and satisfying) than traditional, single-plane exercises. It just makes more sense to the human body to incorporate groups of muscles into familiar patterns, and add resistance and balance challenges to raise the complexity.
It’s as simple as PPLC!
Push- a sled, a box, a shopping cart, or your own body weight.
Pull- a rope, a cable, a lawn mower cord, or your own body weight
Lift- a weighted bar, a plate, a tire, or your own body weight
Carry- a kettle bell, a dumb bell, a bucket, or your own body weight
Combine a PPLC activity with a balance challenge or a rotational component to make the movement even more relevant to real life. This requires some degree of core strength (proximal stability) to prevent injury and overuse. And managing your own body weight through very basic position changes helps promote core strength.
It starts with literally moving out of your comfort zone. Get. On. The. Floor. The simple act of getting up and down and moving into different positions without the leverage of your feet will engage the core.
Here are some great core exercises that can get you started.
It is so refreshing to read this! I’m a level two OT student in an inpatient rehab setting working with general rehab diagnoses. Most of the OTs at my facility take a bottom up approach and use traditional strengthening exercises for the most part to work on strengthening and endurance. My CI’s response when I try to incorporate more functional movements into the sessions is that some people aren’t ready for functional activities yet. That they’re too deconditioned to be able to handle them or that you can’t get enough reps in to fill the 90 minutes needed. I’ve seen several patients who were strong using free weights and theraband, but when they try to apply the strength into functional mobility they don’t do well. Ironically, my CI says this is because their muscles can’t figure out out to work together as a group… so why not strengthen them as a group then is what I’m thinking! Anyways, great to read this. It’s got me thinking about different treatment activities to try!
Yay!!!! And please don’t fall for the deeply rooted misconception that OT is upper body and PT is lower body. OTs are holistic! OTs are functional! Time to change that up!