The fitness industry is constantly evolving since our society is constantly changing. Since our society has become more and more sedentary, people need to be taught to proper movement patterns. Because of this focus on proper movement patterns workouts have become more and more focused on functional strength.
While classes like Zumba are becoming more popular as people are seeking out “fun” ways to workout (that seem less like working out) so is functional training equipment (YAY!).
Here are some cool pieces of equipment that I hope to start seeing in more and more gyms!
- Kettlebells are probably one of the oldest forms of lifting equipment. They were developed in Russia in the 1700 and finally reached the US around the 1960s. They were once a common staple of the gym, but have since virtually disappeared. Recently though there has been a resurgence and now many kettlebell training certifications are available. One of the best ways to work your entire body and gain lean muscle mass!
- Sleds – A great way to improve your leg power! Pushing (or pulling!) a sled is a great full body workout. While I love deadlifts and squats, pushing a sled can help you get pretty much the exact same benefits as both in one exercise!
- Heavy Ropes – These are not something I’ve worked with, but I can’t wait to! You can literally get a full body workout using these ropes. There are specific exercises with the heavy ropes that can target your upper body, core and legs. They also provide you with a very cardio workout!
- Sandbags – If you think lifting a dumbbell, plate weight or barbell overhead is hard, try lifting a sandbag of the same weight! Because the weight in sandbags can shift, you really have to use your core. This is a much better way to engage some of those core stabilizer muscles than a stupid bosu! Plus you are lifting something heavy, which you know I love!
- Sandbells and Waterbells – A variation of both the medicine ball and the sandbag, I thought these were just too cool not to include. what a great way to incorporate the sandbag into more exercises. These sandbells can also help you work on grip while you are getting all the benefits of lifting a sandbag and heavy weights!
- TRX bands – A Pilates-based movement system, the TRX is a great way to get in a full-body, bodyweight workout. The thing I love about the TRX too is that it can be used to teach beginners proper movement patterns, but also be used to challenge even the fittest of athletes!
- TRX Rip Trainer – This new piece of equipment actually started this whole post. I love the fact that this is a small, easily portable piece. Like the TRX, it looks like something that everyone can use. I can’t wait to try it!
- Foam rollers – I love foam rollers. While not exactly a piece of exercise equipment (although it can be used for exercises), it is essential to any functional workout. It is key to developing proper length-tension relationships and correcting imbalances!
- Tires – I love deadlifts and squats. BUT flipping tires can be a great substitute. There is something about the idea of flipping a tire that just seems so Primal to me. I feel like this exercise came from cavemen and women who flipped rocks to prove who was strongest. Am I crazy? Probably.
- Rings – Can we say DIFFICULT!?! Working out on the rings, whether you are doing muscle ups or not, is probably one of the hardest things EVER. I always love watching the gymnasts do them because you can see every muscle in their bodies working!
Runners up: Medicine balls, Resistance bands, Ergs, Versa Climbers, Monkey bars (I LOVE MONKEY BARS!)
All of these pieces of equipment can be used to give you both a cardio and strength training workout! Plus they work your entire body!
What functional training equipment do you love?
You are probably looking at the three words in the title and thinking one of these things is not like the others…But are they really so different?
Corsets and foot binding were used to control women. They made women have to buy different clothing products; they made women have to pursue an unrealistic body. Those two things made women feminine and not manly. Those two things made females the delicate sex and unable to pursue occupations and such in a man’s world (those two things definitely kept women from reaching their genetic potential).
Cellulite was a term first used in the 1920 (hmm about the time that women started wearing more freeing clothing and began to try to become more independent). In the 1960s, the term appeared in English language publications, first appearing in Vogue. Vogue huh? Not exactly a mecca for medical information. More a mecca for advertising and women’s fashions. Vogue is more of a place where women are presented with an unrealistic body image which is supposed to be beautiful and attainable (which it is if you starve yourself).
So why would Vogue use the word cellulite? Because cellulite is supposedly a condition that only women suffered from with no easy cure. It is supposed to a “lumpy deposits of body fat especially on women’s thighs etc.” It is a word that could make them lots of money – a word that would keep women coming back for cures and keep women reading for the next way to lose fat.
It didn’t allow women to think about manly pursuits…such as weight training. It kept women thinking they are different from men – a fairer sex with a “disease” that only they can have. Their fat couldn’t be cured the way men cured theirs.
Ok so maybe now you are starting to see the connection – control of the market over women. Women thinking they are different – a fairer sex with problems different from men’s. Yes, corsets and foot binding are way more extreme, but each of these things in their time and place serve to control women – they serve to make women pursue a female form that just simply isn’t realistic instead of a female form that they can attain.
I mean if women really want the best body that they can realistically have, why wouldn’t a magazine tell women to lift weights like men do? Lifting weights helps men reach a beautiful body…wouldn’t it do the same for women?
Right now you are thinking about the doctrine of women magazines…magazines that want to sell women something (exercise equipment FOR WOMEN; diets FOR WOMEN). You are thinking that lifting weights would make a woman big and bulky NOT beautiful. But really…answer me how this will happen? How will women get huge when they don’t have the testosterone that men have? How will they get big? Steroids? haha well that isn’t NATURAL…those to me are on the same level as corsets!
So right now you are thinking about all those articles in women’s health and fitness magazines and HOPEFULLY you are starting to realize that all they are trying to do is sell something. They are trying to create a market for women’s fitness products. A market that wouldn’t be there if women started working out like the other part of our species.
I mean this is how women who work out like men look…women who don’t buy special products or pursue unrealistic body images…
And another one…
These women look pretty great to me and they didn’t have to spend lots of money finding out about the latest craze or buying the newest women’s product. They didn’t worry about getting big and bulky. They have developed beautiful, healthy bodies.
Even if you don’t agree with anything I’ve written above, I hope at least you start questioning things you read about women’s health and fitness. I hope you start thinking about the motives behind why things are written and reported.