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Is Functional Exercise Always Best?

There has been a lot of discussion around functional exercise versus isolated exercise. Functional exercise seems to come out on top in most of these discussions; however, Greg Roskopf, founder of muscle activation techniques, has a valid counter argument. He says, "The integrated system is only as good as the function of it's isolated parts." This quote suggests that if you have a weak link in the system, that the body's ability to function would be limited. If functional exercises are being performed, with compensatory patterns is that actually improving function?


I have to agree with Greg on this topic. If there are weak links in the system, performing functional exercises could actually be causing more harm than good. It would be like having loose hinges on a door. You can open and close the door all you want, it will not correct the loose hinges, in fact it may make the hinges become looser all while rubbing and grinding from not having stability through the movement. Our bodies are the same. If we have instability in our body, due to weakness and imbalances, performing activity and exercises in this state could potentially cause more harm than good. Muscle activation is a good solution to this problem. It helps to correct weakness in the body, which provides stability, just like tightening screws in the hinges on the door provides more stability through the doors movement. Once the muscular imbalances are corrected then functional exercise can be performed safely. Not only will this be safer, it will also allow for improved strength gains from the functional exercises, as the body won't be held back but the weak links that were previously present.



At Limitless Physical Therapy,

we can help you to have stability throughout your body, through the use of muscle activation, which will lead to improved benefits from the functional training that is often used in rehabilitation and personal training programs.




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