Ask an Expert on Functional Training: Jacki Dalsimer

Jacki Dalsimer talks functional training.You have questions, we have answers. We took some time this month to speak with Jacki Dalsimer, the fitness director of Canton Club in Baltimore, Md., on how you can make the most out of functional training in your facility.

Why is functional training becoming more prevalent in health club settings?

JD: Functional training is the latest “buzz word” in health clubs, and for good reasons. The idea of strength training is no longer just for those interested in bodybuilding. Strength training is important for everyone in order to maintain muscle mass as we age. Functional training simulates the way muscles work together in real life situations. Therefore, incorporating more functional training into your workout will improve your quality of life. Members are coming into clubs looking for functional training options.

How can a club create a functional training area with minimal space?

JD: Functional training exercises can be performed anywhere in the gym where there is open space. Gyms cluttered with the typical circuit training machines that isolate muscles, instead of training muscles to work together, need to remove these machines. Not only do these machines take up a lot of room, they send mixed messages about your philosophy of training to your members.

How should a club educate members on functional equipment to prevent individual injuries?

JD: Most people know they need to do functional training, but really don’t know what functional training is. It is important to have a knowledgeable staff and trainers present on the floor to assist people with these exercises. Small group training (SGT) is becoming more popular in gyms as it creates affordable training options for members. SGT is a great way to educate members on functional training options.

How can clubs implement functional training areas without looking like cluttered sections?

JD: It is important for clubs to have stands, racks and hooks to organize the equipment. The equipment should not be left on the floor. These organizational tools should also help create spaces for people to perform the exercises.

Top 5 Training Pieces of Equipment

1. Stability Balls

2. TRX Suspension Systems

3. Medicine Balls

4. Dumbbells

5. Cable Machines

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