What is Functional Fitness and How Does It Help Weight Loss? - Page 2
Training dynamic balance starts just as any other component of fitness. Depending on your current capabilities, you will plan a reasonable progression from there. “Reasonable” means that you must be able to run before you walk or in some cases simply stand vertically and increase the duration of doing so before attempting to walk. That is a reasonable plan for someone like my 430lb client whose initial challenge was how long he could stand without extreme burning from the pressure of his body weight. Walking posed an even greater challenge. A reasonable plan of progress can be as simple as practicing weight shifting drills while standing on both feet. By adding additional support, he was able to withstand greater time duration and make progress.
Standing in a doorway while holding on to both sides was the first step followed by using Nordic trekking poles to stabilize in a center floor open area. Once he gained control and confidence, we began the locomotion drills moving in a controlled environment before going outside. These are all reasonable progressions for a person of limited capability.
However, when training the college baseball team for strength and conditioning we used dynamic balance training at a different level. The student athletes were trained on the Bosu Balance Trainer and Ballast Balls. Additional drills included jump rope travelling drills adding the upper to lower body coordination challenge in a sport-specific way.
All of these movements are dynamic balance and certainly considered very functional for an appropriate level. In fact, the 430 lb man progressed to walking drills while swinging the jump rope side to side with figure eight pattern variations. He now performs a simulated jump called a “toe catch” by swinging the rope overhead and bringing it down on time to catch it under both feet lifting the toes and then passing it out behind him while elevating the heels. This is a very reasonable progression for someone who is not ready to jump yet and it serves as a lead-in skill to actual jumping.
No matter what your goals are, whether you are a grandmother or an elite young athlete you will find your own level to begin using dynamic balance training for functional fitness. Functional fitness will help you to increase your ability for recreation and play and what could be more motivating than that?