AN OVERVIEW INTO FUNCTION VS ISOLATION TRAINING
BY NEIL DU PLESSIS
One will build joint stability and flexibility in their wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles with functional training. This is first done with body weight training. Technique is a crucial aspect and must be mastered before any weight should be added because one can injure themselves, if not due to incorrect technique, then insufficient flexibility. Core is an important component of any exercise regium. Functional training works the core dynamically and throughly. Without a strong core, one loses mechanical efficiency when doing endurance and resistence training.
“The start of a sprint can be done quicker and more force will be generated in each stride, therefore resulting in faster sprinting times.”
When functional training is paired with Plyometric exercises you will see a difference in speed and strength. When doing box jumps, one will notice functional training will make them able to jump higher. While performing functional movements, the body can be loaded with weight in positions that further increase verticle jump height. The start of a sprint can be done quicker and more force will be generated in each stride, therefore resulting in faster sprinting times. Upper body Plyometric work can also be done. This will advance ones functional ability. For example, medicine ball throws help to improve coordination. Repeating the throw numerious times will increase synchronicity. The whole body will work better together and result in greater force generation. This paired with the strength gained in the legs, back and shoulders and a person will be able to throw a medicine ball higher and further.
When performing an isolated movement the functionality component is removed. If training for maintainence or prevention of aging, this is very rarely done in an isolated fashion. If your goal is increased strength, a common mistake is to shorten the range of movement in order to increase the amount of weight lifted. Shortening of a muscle or joint range can be hazzardious to an individual when moving dynamically. Many components need to be considered when conditions are not as controlled as they are in a gym environment. For them to translate into enhancing movements preformed in everyday life, they must be functional. If the muscles are only trained in a limited range, an injury would be a highly probable outcome when preformed in uncontrolled conditions. This is why it is essential to train a muscle through its full range. Even if stretching is incorporated, no amount can compensate for poor training methodology.
“If your goal is increased strength, a common mistake is to shorten the range of movement in order to increase the amount of weight lifted.”
Another forthcoming of isolation training is, even if an individual is weak and inflexible, most isolated movements can still be preformed. Little to none initial conditioning needs to be undertaken, which could be seen as favourable. However, if work leading up to exercise should be done, it must not be avoided. Not addressing these problems and performing isolated movements could lead to tightening and further impact tight muscles, making them tighter. Overly tight muscles lead to postural problems. Carrying these problems on a day to day basis cause a problem to progress much quicker. This can lead to a loss of proper mobility and less functional ability.
The theory behind working muscles in an isolated fashion is, they can be singled out and concentrated on. Isolation training may have its benefits when trying to rehabilitate a particular area that an individual is having trouble with. In the bigger picture though, this type of training should not be seen as the sole provider for development. Strengthening one particular muscle group may help to make initial progress through a stagnated patch. However, trying to strengthen each individual part of the body separately and expecting them to work together as a whole does not work in practice. The body and muscles must be trained to coordinate movements if they are going to be mastered and progressed to a higher level of functionality. Each muscle must be worked alongside its antagonists to ensure proper coordination of a movement.