When it comes to creating a workout regime, where to start and what to include seems to be the hardest questions. Well, the first place to start is to determine your goals. Do you want to put on muscle mass, lose fat, gain strength, look and feel better, overall health? Once you have decided this, it makes it easier to determine what to include in your workout routine. But, no matter what your goal is…you should always include corrective and functional exercises to prevent injury and keep all muscles and joints workout together.
The most common injuries that occur because of muscle imbalances are in the shoulder or knee. This is because there are so many surrounding muscles that innervate the joint that it is easy to neglect the smaller muscles that aren’t the prime movers. So by adding in these corrective movements, you are targeting those smaller muscles to make sure they can aid in the movement of the joint, and the large muscles don’t just take over and do all the work. There is a purpose for EVERY muscle in the body, so making sure they are firing correcting to help with movements is very important. Not only does it strengthen small muscles, these exercises can also increase mobility and flexibility of the joint to decrease injury risk as well. Many people don’t know just how important it is to include these exercises or even what kind of exercises these include, so I am here to tell you!
Benefits of Corrective Exercises
Corrective exercises identify incorrect movement patterns, as well as focusing on what muscles are weak and which are strong. This is important because, over time, incorrect movements or habits could turn into chronic pain, injury or postural problems. Now that I have ingrained into your noggin that these movements NEED to be incorporated into your exercise routine, let me explain more about the benefits of these movements. Corrective Exercises can decrease pain, enhances performance, improve posture, decrease susceptibility to other injuries, reduce stress, and improve daily living. These benefits may seem like they are only for the individual who wants to improve overall health and fitness levels, but these are also very important for serious weight trainers and bodybuilding. When engaging in the same type of exercise over and over again, you WILL end up with muscle imbalances because all exercises don’t target all muscles. If you are only focusing on main compound lifts or muscle growth, you are likely neglecting the small movers. This could not only cause pain and injury but even inhibit performance of other lifts. So whether you are just starting your fitness journey and want to strength everything, or you’re an intense bodybuilder and want to put on a large amount of muscle mass, these exercises NEED to be incorporated into your training program.
Benefits of Functional Exercises
Functional exercises are the classification of moves that involves preparing the body for daily activities such as carrying groceries, climbing stairs etc. This also means exercising in all three planes of movement which is important for overall fitness as well. Functional exercises tend to target both the upper and lower body muscles at the same time. This increases the number of muscles being recruited and tends to take a lot of focus and concentration to perform which also helps brain health. Take a bicep curl for instance. You don’t usually spend time curling things in the real world, but if you add a squat to it, it refocuses and acts like picking up something from the floor. When we continue to only exercise in one plane of movement (such as forward and backward) can cause imbalances in the other directions and thus causing loss of balance and proprioception. When we practice in all planes, we not only increase strength and function but also balance, stability and agility. With all muscles being incorporated in functional exercises, it allows us to transfer those to picking items up off the floor, lifting things overhead, carrying laundry/groceries etc. Not to mention it can also prevent injury in advanced athletes because of the quick changes in movement patterns and compound bodyweight movements they aren’t used to practicing in their normal lifting routine.
Moral of the story….do your corrective exercises on muscle groups you tend to neglect and make sure you add in functional exercises to improve your daily living and overall fitness and stability! You may already be incorporating all of these things and not even know it, so keep it up! Complex movements that include more than one muscle group is usually going to be a great functional exercise for a daily living. Exercises that focus on one muscle is going to primarily mean strengthening just that muscle. Exercises that use light weight and are small movements are generally going to be corrective exercises to target small, neglected muscles that need strengthening as well. So be sure you are doing a well-rounded exercise routine to fully reap all the benefits that exercise has to offer the body! It is AMAZING just how quickly muscle imbalances can occur, so be smart and take the time to warm up and target ALL muscles of the body during your workouts.