Functional Training has become somewhat of a buzz word in the industry lately. What is functional training anyway?
It is training that has a function, or training to improve a specific function. So with body building, the reason you do a heavy bicep-curl is not to make your bicep-curl strong, it is to increase the size of your arm, (big arms don’t help you surf better). A lot of athletes use body building, power lifting and Olympic lifting protocols in their training Mostly its because they participate in a contact sport and size matters. However it is a big misconception that weight lifting increases athleticism, the truth is it hinders it.
Think about it logically, how can doing heavy squats make you run faster? It can’t, all it does is make you better at heavy squats, and heavy squats increase muscle size and squatting strength. As the athlete progresses and gets stronger in the gym he/she is also training on the ‘field’ with sprints, SAQ, (Speed Agility Quickness) and game time, so the body learns to be big and strong in the gym and still remain athletic due to ‘field’ training. When a 240lb athlete meets a 175lb athlete on the field at speed it become apparent why a lot of athletes want and need to be bigger, therefore heavy weight training in the gym can be ‘functional’.
For us as surfers, size is not important. Strength is, but only relative to your own bodyweight and surfing movements/positions.
For most non-contact sport athletes its all about MOVEMENT
- Movement is affected by the ever-present force of gravity.
- Movement occurs three-dimensionally.
- Movement follows the path of least resistance.
- Movement is task driven.
- Movement triggers a Chain Reaction throughout the body.
- Movement is individualized, as people are different.
So functional training for a surfer will help a surfer to improve movement. More specifically, improve surfing movements and cope with the forces surfing (movement) puts on the body.
So functional training for surfing looks and feels like surfing. Simple. Kind of.
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