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So What Exactly IS Functional Exercise?


“Functional” exercise is a term that is often brought up in the fitness industry. But what exactly is it? I asked my personal trainer, Stephanie Pipia, for her insight. She says that over time, the fitness industry has moved from isolated joint movements to using the entire body as an integrated system.

Take the hamstrings for example. They are meant for knee flexion and hip extension. They can be worked in isolation on a leg curl machine or they can be worked by doing a squat. Of the two exercises, the squat is considered the more functional exercise because it uses the body as an interdependent integrated system.

Stephanie says that people who are athletic and interested in building power, strength, and endurance in their legs should do squats. Another benefit of the exercise? Squats involve more glute activation than simply sitting on a leg curl machine. As Stephanie says, “We are sitting down at our desks all day, why would we want to come to the gym and lay down to do our exercises?” I couldn’t agree more!

Our 2012 Weight Loss Diary writer, Yasmin, is a 32-year-old web content producer who is looking to get healthy and love her body! Follow along on her year-long weight loss journey!

Who’s helping Yasmin? Tiara Coaching Life coach Alison Miller, Ph.D, nutritionist Keri Gans, R.D, and Equinox personal trainer Stephanie Pipia.


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