Health and fitness encompass several things, and functional fitness incorporates a bit more. At the most basic level, general fitness is applicable to everyone’s daily life. Functional fitness combines nutrition, metabolic conditioning, weightlifting, and gymnastics into one health and fitness program.
But there are some fundamental movements where each athlete should start. Learning these movements will allow you to add more complex variations, heavier weight, and more advanced technical elements to your programming.
Squat, Press, Deadlift
These three movements are the very basic foundation of weightlifting of functional fitness. From the basic air squat, you can learn the proper form and then add weight to a barbell. You can progress to a front squat and eventually to an overhead squat. A strict press moves to a push press and then a push jerk. The same with a deadlift. After mastering the technique of a deadlift, you move to a sumo deadlift high-pull and then to a clean and snatch.
Within the squat, press, pull (deadlift) movements you’ll start to see additional variations in the workouts. Using dumbbells and kettlebells instead of barbells will allow your body to work different muscles and focus on form before adding more weight.
Gymnastics skills are some of the hardest to learn in the functional fitness world but are also very important. These skills are bodyweight skills, things like box jumps, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. Of course, there are progressions for each of these skills, to focus on form and then increase intensity and difficulty.
For example, you may not start with jumping onto a 30” box. Perhaps you start with step-ups onto a 20” box, then you start jumping. Then you increase the height, slowly. This progression and timeframe will be different for each athlete.
Every athlete knows that endurance is something that must be developed. Gone are the days when we were children and could randomly run miles without tiring. Endurance is built up through metabolic conditioning, things like running, rowing, and jumping rope. Again, there’s a progression here. You may start with walking briskly, working your way up to running a mile.
Concentrating on mastering the fundamentals will allow you to progress through to the more advanced skills. Sometimes you may need to go back to the basics to work through poor form or a mental block. Take your time in these stages, don’t rush through the fundamentals.