The AIK model of optimal Functional Training is simple and encompasses five pillars which provide an understanding of how to implement Powerbags, Kettlebells, Battling Ropes, Suspension training and Functional Mobility.
Pelvis control and Hip Extension
This is the starting point for clients because everyone needs to learn pelvis control and especially hip extension as this is the foundation for effective core control for daily and sporting activity. Without the foundation of hip stability and control, like likelihood of injury, especially during high intensity workouts are increased. Form is everything and Powerbags taught with correct progressive stages is essential to achieve this foundation.
Teaching Dynamic Lifts
Due to its soft cushioning, the Powerbag is an excellent way of teaching complex lifts such as the clean and snatch and thereby creating speed based movements with good form is essential. Once the mastery of hip extension via the deadlift progressions is learned, powerful movements are possible in the sagittal and transverse planes. This showcases the effectiveness of the powerbag to achieve optimal results for your client wanting to gain ‘Functional Strength’ or your athlete needing to develop explosive power for his/her sport.
For many fitness enthusiasts, the kettlebell is the ultimate training tool when it comes to covering the essential components of fitness: Cardio, Strength and Mobility. The simple nature of this training method does require a thorough grasp of the fundamental technical and teaching points in order to decrease likelihood of injury and provide the maximum benefits it possesses.
It is important to distinguish between knowing how to use the kettlebell and knowing how to teach it. A comprehensive understanding of the common mistakes and subtle cues provides the backbone in which to teach the kettlebell via progressions and variations.
Once you have obtained safe and effective hip control via the Powerbags training methods, then the dynamic nature of the kettlebell in such movements as the swing is safely transitioned for better results.
Advanced Concepts of Kettlebell Training
Once the ground work has been established in stage 1, you may move the client into more complex lifts particularly adding more power by adding an extra kettlebell and adding double kettlebell lifts. In addtion, sport based movements which require movement into the transverse plane are incorporated.
Importantly, the first stage must be first mastered and it is recommended in particular to accomplish mastery in the following lifts as learned in stage 1 : Kettlebell Swing, Kettlebell clean & press and the Turkish get-up.
A vital component to functional training is ensuring the body is strong enough to move multi-directionally without necessarily first adding external load. Suspension training utilises the body weight to create gross body movements such as pushing, pulling, twisting and plyometric based movement patterns.
Particular emphasis is placed on developing a strong core which is the foundation of functional strength.
Once the client has mastered the Powerbag and Kettlebell phases, the final pillar is the battling rope as this requires more dynamic stability and the need to produce more power from the hips.
The battling ropes are often misused with too much focus on the arms driving the movement and not enough focus on hip drive. With the hip involved you will take your client(s) to the next level of development with increased strength, speed, power and mobility. This will enable greater work during a session and lead the enhanced training adaptations your client desires.
Increasing studies around the effectiveness and necessity of warming and how best to go about this supports the conecpt of mobility work prior to engaging in functional training methods. Mobility tests are often used to ascertain certain areas of the body that are restriced in range of movement and prone to injury.
Functional mobility encompasses a series of warm ups and effective methods to free up restricted areas by areas by addressing the key areas by addressing the key ares of the Hip, Thoraco-lumbar and shoulder regions. In order to perform dynamic movements like deadlifting, swinging and performing battling rope based work outs, a deeper understanding of how to best warm up these regions is key to ensure reduced risk or injury for your client.
This will be a take home exam and you will be given 3 months in which to complete and submit it.