If you want to live a long healthy life and be fit and strong while doing it, resistance training for hypertrophy (muscle growth) is what you need to be doing.
Functional hypertrophy is something for everyone, not just the usual “gym junkie”.
If we break it down, functional meaning practical and useful, hypertrophy meaning muscle growth. Which pretty much means that by training for functional hypertrophy anything physical in life is made much easier.
Functional hypertrophy is also something that can be designed to specifically target the required physical attributes for any given sport. A sprinter will be doing very different functional hypertrophy training compared to a competitive power lifter. The specific training they are doing will increase muscle and will be useful for the sport they participate in.
But what if you’re not training for a specific sport and just want to be able to carry more shopping bags up the stairs at home or be able to do the gardening yourself and not have to pay someone to do it for you or help your friend move house. Any challenging physical task in life can and will be made easier through functional hypertrophy. It is also great for reducing the instance of injury by increasing your strength, agility, mobility, flexibility and balance.
When someone says “Muscle Growth” people often instantly think massive bodybuilder that can’t scratch their ear, how is this functional right?? Well they are specifically training for maximum muscle growth, it is extremely rare that a bodybuilder will be as strong as a power lifter or strong man, but the function of their training routine is designed for maximum muscle growth. A power lifter will be training for that 1 repetition maximum and a strongman will be training for the movement of awkward heavy loads over distance for time.
For the average person performing squats, deadlifts, bench press and a few other exercises targeting individual muscle groups, this will be enough to build some muscle and keep those day to day physical tasks much easier to perform. You may be thinking “when is a squat or bench press going to be useful. Well, this can be highlighted in the injury prevention area. Injuries in general day to day life often occur due to an uncontrolled lift. For example, I once injured my back from picking up a pen and yet my 1 RM deadlift at the time was 250kg, how did this happen?? I was complacent and lazy, these injuries happen all the time to those who don’t take their health and fitness seriously. Squats are great for strength, balance, mobility and overall stability, the same can be said for deadlifts and bench press, these are all compound movements which incorporate multiple joints and muscles and are some of the most functional exercises one can do. Along with exercises that specifically target different muscle groups, these are isolation exercises, which are great for strengthening all those supporting muscles. All of which are going to be useful in every day physical tasks.
A functional hypertrophy training session may look like a circuit or giant set incorporating multiple compound movements. Squat, Deadlift, Bench press, Military press, walking lunges, barbell curls and triceps dips. All functional movements that will translate into day to day life.
So maybe instead of going to the gym to look better, lose weight, grow muscle etc.. Just head to the gym to make the physical tasks in life easier on yourself.
Thanks for reading,
Schembri PT Team