Functional Strength Training has enabled me to move, play and work without injury.
by Pat Meredith
I came to Functional Strength Training (FST) because I hurt myself. Despite practicing yoga and being a yoga teacher, I would move the “wrong way” and tweak my lower back. It would happen usually on the same side, and happen when I least expected it. Bending over to pick up groceries, reaching for something or leaning over and tying my shoe would leave me in pain and annoyed that I did it again. An injury would keep me from doing those activities I love such as hiking, backpacking, skiing, biking and golf. A friend had done FST and suggested it might help. Knowing Bob Speck at HOTV taught FST, I reached out and became a client.
Bob uses yoga movements, combined with functional strength movements to help me become more aware and mindful of my body movements, while working on my strength, stability and mobility. At first, I was wobbly, felt weak and not very mobile as I went through my first session. Though yoga was a great place for me start with FST, I really didn’t understand that certain muscles in my body were not being fully utilized, which caused an imbalance in my body as I moved. For example, I had strong quads but my gluteus muscles were relatively weak, which would throw off my stride and lead me to hip pain or lower back pain. I would engage my bandhas (energetic locks) sometimes in my yoga practice, but didn’t realize how essential a strong core was to those things I enjoyed doing. As I kept up with the training, I learned more about my body and how to move efficiently and effectively.
I had a dream when I moved to Vermont after college to hike the Long Trail. I would image myself thru-hiking the 273 miles from south to north, but the timing was never right or I wasn’t in shape. When I started training with Bob, I spoke of my dream and he started to work with me with hiking and backpacking as my focus in my sessions. I got stronger, more stable and confident that I would be able to backpack for 10 hour days with a 20-25 pound pack on my back. Thanks to FST, and Bob’s coaching, I realized my dream and completed the Long Trail last summer at 65 years old. This summer, I plan to be back on the LT with my partner as he finishes his Long Trail journey. He too works with Bob and has been changed by the experience.
Yes, I am a convert, devotee, and practitioner of FST for it has enabled me to move, play and work without injury. It has changed the way I feel about aging. It has changed what I can do physically, knowing that I am strong, aware of my body and what it can do.
In December 2021, I became a Certified Functional Strength Trainer and began teaching functional strength yoga fusion at HOTV. I am inspired to pay this training forward for it has enhanced my quality of life. I can hike or actively play with a baby crawling on the floor. I can bend over and not worry about pulling a muscle when I pick something up or tie my shoe. I have osteoporosis and though strength training may not reverse the condition, it can keep it at bay. I love the fact that I can combine yoga which I love for its centered practice, with functional strength training. The best of both worlds without a sweaty smelly gym or someone yelling at me saying, “Give me 20 reps!”
How great is that?
©Pat Meredith 2022