Can you perform the Ultimate Functional Fitness Test?
Looking for the ultimate “Functional” test for health and fitness? Look no further than your closet. Yes I said your closet. Reach in the drawer and pull out a sock, this is all the equipment you will need.
Now, while standing on one leg raise the knee of the other leg straight up and attempt to place the sock on the foot of the suspended leg. You are not allowed to cross your leg parallel to the other. You are not allowed to bend the standing leg. The knee must bend and rise straight up and the foot held level while placing the sock on your foot. No twisting of the knee or angle allowed.
Can’t do it?
Let’s diagnose the problem… but before I do that let me give you an early xmas present to health and longevity…
I perform this exercise every single morning without fail, at least the ones where I wear socks. But normally, I train in the morning and put on a pair of socks before throwing on my training shoes and heading out the door so I get a lot of practice but for a specific reason.
I do this to remain functional. Functional Fitness means it has use beyond the gym.
If I can balance on one leg and pull my other knee high to my hip while stretching my torso downward and not fall, imagine how much more balance, agility and flexibility I will maintain at age 70 and beyond. Try this exercise now and if you can’t do it, imagine how bad your balance, agility and flexibility may be at age 70 if you don’t start doing something about it now.
It is a small test and a small exercise to perform but it means so much more in the grander scheme of things.
Ok let’s get on with the diagnosis…
Stomach stopping you from bending at the waist? You need to lose some weight. Insulin resistance and high cortisol levels have left you with too much belly fat, the most risky fat that leads to cardio vascular related diseases. I am sure you know what kind of diet is best to eliminate this and more importantly what kind of training program will be best for these hormonal imbalances and it is not power lifting. If not read this and call us!
Can’t bend over far enough without the small of your back starting to feel pain? Weak or tight lumbar muscles or a weak abdominal core to support the back could be your cause. Even a tight hamstring or gluteus medius causes a muscle so internal to the abdominal tract that it must be palpated from the backside, the Quadratus Lumborum, to be overly stretched. You probably need some good hip stretches and a foam roller.
Is the standing leg burning from doing all the work and feels fatigued like it is going to give way? Your muscles have weakened and atrophied and you may be seeing early signs of Sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass as we age. Or you could be showing signs of severe deconditioning that creates lactate build-up quickly A little proper weightlifting can reverse this problem, some extra walking or some slow side kicking techniques taught in many Asian martial arts. In short you aren't stressing your lower body enough and are probably seated too much all day.
Can’t get your knee up high enough? Either your hip flexors are too tight from probably sitting all day for work and not stretching adequately or the hamstring of the standing leg may be tight also due to too much posterior chain immobilization. In other words you need to move more and sit less.
Can’t balance on one leg long enough? You likely have a weak abdominal core and or very little neuromuscular signaling due to lack of activity. Neuromuscular signals recruit muscle fibers to fire and contract. The better the signaling the more muscle tissue you can recruit the stronger you get. Try a few single leg Romanian Deadlifts with a Kettlebell or Dumbbell, maybe a few Turkish Get-ups and even some lightly weighted shadow boxing on a couple of Bosu balls. Also make sure you are in flat shoes when you perform these movements so you strengthen the muscles that recruit the ankle to stay tight and in place to reduce wobble. If you are confused just come see us we can get you squared away!
Is the standing leg burning while trying to perform this function? A build up of lactate too quickly signifies a low metabolic conditioning level as storage glucose is used up quickly and secondary mechanisms are kicking into place. You need to perform higher repetitions of key movements to increase cardiovascular function and increase muscle tissue glycogen storage and recovery. In other words you need to get more carbs/sugars into the muscle tissue for energy rather than being stored as fat. But this requires the right type of training and the right timing and type of carbohydrates. We can help you with that too.
Didn’t accomplish your goal? Implement some of the above suggestions and keep trying. See us about getting to a minimum level of conditioning so you can put your socks on again like you did when you were 9.
Did you successfully get your sock on? Congratulations you passed the Ultimate Functional Fitness Test. Come see us about getting to the next level in your training!