Strong Points: Rhonda Catt

functional training, training so it transfers outside the gym, thoracic mobility

  • Nov. 27, 2011 9:00 a.m.

Functional training is the huge buzz in the fitness industry. Sure, it’s important to train so it transfers outside of your gym/facility or to your sport or daily activities.

But do not get carried away in the fancy exercises or gadgets because you may not get the results you want. Anyone who is serious about their strength and conditioning routine needs to take steps to learn about proper progression, assessing and  movement.

Here are some tips to think about when going alone in your workouts.

Is there pain? Pain is a red flag or signal of an imbalance. It is not the time to “work through it.” As a conditioning coach or trainer it is important that we assess each client and know they are capable to move forward with programming. If not, refer out. This is important for individuals to know because looking at a conditioning coach or trainer to find the problem is not the answer.

My previous Strong Points article talked about the importance of ankle mobility. It doesn’t stop there. Mobility through the ankle, hips and thoracic spine is of major importance to injury prevention and a healthy lifestyle.

The thoracic spine (upper back) loses mobility due to repetitive movement patterns throughout the years. The mobility lessens and in order to maintain freedom of movement our body will find the easiest path which is most often incorrect! Many suffer from low back pain, and increasing mobility through the hips and T-spine will do the job in helping to relieve some discomfort. Stretching the low back is NOT the answer. Increase mobility above and below. Lack of shoulder mobility will also be an issue. Increase T-spine mobility and free up the shoulder, increase grip strength and you will increase stability through the shoulder.

Think movement! We need to think about the ability of our body to react to outside forces. When we walk, lunge, jump, squat, push, reach, how do we react? Do we have appropriate “communication” between muscles and joints when we play sports or take a fitness class? What compensation patterns are happening in our body during each workout or during daily tasks?  There is no excuse to accept the inability to move better. The way you train, exercise or workout will be your answer in how you function!

If you have a question regarding this article, please contact

Rhonda Catt is a certifed personal trainer in the North Okanagan.

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