We’ve only got one body — so why not treat it well in everything we do, including moving it?

When we walk, run, play sports, lift weights, or just sit in front of the computer (umm, all day, every day), we should be tuning in to how we use our muscles — for optimal functioning in healthy, efficient and pain-free movement.

CONSIDER THIS: if any part of your body is experiencing pain, it’s pretty likely that some element of your body’s functional movement system (which I refer to as myofascial slings) has been compromised.

This may manifest as:

  • weakness/decreased strength
  • muscle imbalance
  • poor functioning joint
  • decreased flexibility

And it doesn’t matter whether one or more of these show up in your ankles, hips, pelvis, knees, back, shoulders, neck or the classic “pain in the butt”…the whole body has been cleverly designed like a complex chain link system that works for you to move with biomechanical efficiency.

(At least that’s the idea!)

That’s why the term ‘functional movement’ – which I prefer to expand that to holistic and functional movement isn’t just a trendy exercise term du jour.

It’s a body movement concept that everyone needs in their everyday repertoire!

But, what is Functional Movement?

Functional movement training works several muscle groups at once rather than strengthening just one muscle group at a time like more traditional training programs.

As a result, you’re able to build strength “holistically” because you’re using several muscle groups at once. This forces your body to function as a single unit, so neuromuscular coordination and control are also improved.

Holistic and functional movement training is all about movements, not muscles. It mimics how our bodies were designed to move, and helps us to move better and more efficiently.

Functional Movement Patterns & Exercises You Need to Master!

The 7 movement patterns you need to make sure you’re doing correctly are:

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Horizontal Push + Pull
  • Hinge (at hips)
  • Twist (trunk rotation)
  • Walk (walking gait)

And I’m not talking about just during a workout – it’s the everyday kind of stuff like:

– Bending down to pick up something dropped on the floor

– Reaching up to put something up on a high shelf

– Pulling heavy grocery bags out of the trunk of your car

– Helping your friend move that heavy sofa out of their tiny apartment

– Walking around all day as a tourist

For specific functional exercises you can try, check out the Functional Movement System exercise library.

The 6 Reasons You Should Be Training Your Body… Functionally AND Holistically

Without improving your body awareness and functional movement patterns, the only way you’re going to really know there’s a problem is when you start to feel pain!

By functionally training your body, you will experience the following 6 benefits:


1/ Fewer injuries and decreased body pain – the #1 reason for functional movement training should be to lower the chance of injury. Think quality of life enhancement!

2/ No extra strain on joints – exercises that are done in isolation (one muscle group), such as bicep curls and shoulder flies put extra stress on the joints resulting in arthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis. However, in functional training, the multiple muscle groups work as a single unit, and this naturally takes the strain off the joints.

3/ Boosts performance – both in sport/athletics and in everyday movements.

4/ Builds core strength – functional training focuses heavily on balance and core strength.

5/ Saves time in the gym (when you’re in it), but a gym isn’t even necessary!

6/ Workouts using functional training burn more fat.


“This type of training is so effective in getting individuals lean is due to the fact that these movements are compound, meaning they use more than one muscle group at once. This not only builds more lean muscle mass – which helps us to burn even more fat – but also recruits more muscle fibers during the exercise.” ~ Yuri Elkaim

My Favorite Holistic & Functional Movement System…

My favorite training systems to help improve body awareness and learn more efficient functional movement is a combination of Yoga, Pilates & Slings holistic movement concept.

Holistic & Functional Movement | Emma Simpson

I love teaching functional movement patterns with yoga & slings holistic movement, and then have my clients incorporate this knowledge into their regular daily life activities to help reinforce and support good posture and safe & efficient movement.

By learning how to move properly (yes, most of us move throughout our day all wrong!), not only will you help protect yourself from injury, but you’ll be taking the necessary steps toward reducing chronic stress and inflammation.

If you’re interested in improving the way you move, things can – and likely need to change! It will take a new and improved understanding of your current posture and movement patterns, better body awareness, along with learning (and then doing!) the right exercises to reinforce the new habits.

(Because as we all know, new habits take time to form and become integrated into our routines.)

In time, you’ll see the amazing health benefits of tuning into how your body moves, and you’ll enjoy moving with better function for a truly whole-body + mind health!

Convinced that Holistic & Functional Training is right for YOUR body? (Thought so!)

Discover all the ways we could work together…

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