While recently at a graduation party I got to talking with relative who is a personal trainer. Obviously we had a lot to talk about and I quizzed him extensively about his knowledge of the fitness world. One topic that came up and what we spent most of our time talking about were functional movement exercises and training.
What functional training amounts to in a nutshell is training our bodies to better perform the activities and movements we use in the field. I’ve highlighted several functional exercises on HuntingFit.com including squats, power cleans, and Russian twists. These lifts use the entire body and focus on your core where all your strength originates. Anything we do in the mountains (or most hunting situations) uses multiple muscle groups simultaneously to achieve a movement. Why wouldn’t you want to train that way? What are not functional movements are bicep curls, leg extensions, calf raises, etc. These lifts really only train one specific muscle at a time. Have you ever stopped what you were doing while hunting to focus on using one singe muscle group to something? Hopefully not! Why would you train that way?
What I just told you probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise for you who are reading this but what I found out after doing some additional research is there are three planes we need to focus on when doing these functional lifts. The three planes of movement are Sagittal (divides the body into left and right), Frontal (divides the body front and back), and Transverse (divides the upper body from the lower body).
Most of our exercise lies in the Sagittal plane including the squat, deadlift, and lunge. This makes sense as mostly we are trying to move in the forward direction. Where I would like to focus over the next several weeks is mixing some other exercises in that incorporate the other two planes into your workout.
The first is the dynamic lunge and twist. You are going to be doing a basic lunge but adding a twist as you are stepping forward and lowering your body. This works both the Sagittal and Transverse plains. Imagine, you are ascending a peak, putting one foot in front of the other, and working around standing or fallen timber with a heavy pack on. The lunge and twist simulates this situation almost to a T. Please be sure to consult a professional if you are not familiar or comfortable with this exercise.
Training how you hunt and utilizing functional movements may just be your key to remain injury free and successful this fall.