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Matej Grožaj
Personal coach
Z-Health Practitioner

Functional training - sample exercises

Movement expression:


upper limbs - imitation of an underwater shot

upper limbs - arm coordination exercise on dry land

spine - extension

spine - rotation

breathing - diaphragm

breathing - breath wave while standing

breathing - breath wave on all fours

breathing - intra-abdominal pressure


lower limbs



full body - low acrobatics

whole body - crawling and cranks

Sensory systems:



balls on a string

Mental processes:

simulation and stimulation of mental processes in practice

Examples of movement training

Movement expression

In this section, I present the elaborated content of functional training of movement expression of selected body parts.

For the positions, I indicate the specialization - use in a specific sport, a short description and demonstration videos.

The exercises are arranged from upper to lower body.

Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports


A sample of functional training aimed at training the cervical spine and intra-abdominal pressure.

krcna chrbtica.JPG

Difficulty: high

specialization: swimming

Upper limbs - 

imitation of an underwater shot

A sample from a functional training focused on training the coordination of an underwater shot on dry land, even in a trailer.

tréning paží

Difficulty: low - medium - high

specialization: all sports

Upper limbs - 

dry arm coordination exercise

Neuroathletic training, the goal of which is to check the maturity of the nervous system in situations where the technique of arm movement is disturbed by a change of position or movement of other parts of the body.

kooordinácia paže

Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports

Spine - extension

A sample of functional training aimed at developing the spine into bending and extension. The movement of the body into a tilt depends on the effectiveness of the intra-abdominal pressure and the functionality of the spine.

chrbtica extenzia

Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports

Spine - rotation

Sample from functional training focused on the development of the bridge in motion. The transition to the bridge is based on rotation.

chrbtica rotácia

Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports

Breathing - diaphragm

A sample of functional training with a focus on training the diaphragm while sitting on the forelegs. This type of training will allow you to find out the functional state of the diaphragm.

dýchanie bránica

Difficulty: high

specialization: swimming

Breathing - breathing wave while standing

A sample of swimming training on dry land, focused on the use of the breath wave for undulation training.

dychanie dychova vlna

Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports

Breathing - breath wave on all fours

A sample from a functional training focused on the training of breath wave coordination in movement. 


Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports

Breathing - intra-abdominal pressure

A sample of functional training aimed at training intra-abdominal pressure on the ground with varying degrees of difficulty in place as well as in movement.

Dýchanie intraabdominal

Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports


A sample of functional training aimed at developing the functionality of the hips and pelvis in deep sitting.


Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports

Lower limbs

A sample of functional training aimed at training the lower limbs in the movement from an inclined sitting position to an inclined sitting position.

dolné končatiny

Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports


The training of the members is focused on the development of their functionality (mobility and fitness). Cooperation of the foot and the ankle
leads to the ability of the foot to shape it. This is an inevitable prerequisite for effective training
lower limbs.


Difficulty: extreme

specialization: swimming


Dry instep training can help a swimmer improve their perceptual ability for this area,
thanks to which he will be able to effectively perform the crawl, sign and dolphin kick in the water.


Difficulty: high

specialization: all sports

Whole body - low acrobatics

A demonstration of low acrobatics in various positions on the ground.

nízska akrobacia

Difficulty: high

specialization: swimming

Whole body - crawling and crunches

A sample of functional training focused on crawling.

plazenie a kľuky
Sensory system

Examples of sensory system training

In this section, I present examples of functional training of sensory systems.

Difficulty: extreme


A short sample of my neuroathletic training focusing on basketball. The training is aimed at improving the perception of the movement of one's own body with the balls while eliminating the visual system.  

basketbal dribling

Difficulty: extreme


A short sample of my neuroathletic training with a focus on poles. The training is aimed at improving the perception of body movement with sticks while eliminating the visual system. 

tréning s palicami

Difficulty: extreme

Balls on a string

In the video I demonstrate the technique of movement with balls in place and in motion. The specificity consists in actively disrupting the position of the body and circling with the balls by changes in the position of the head. In an ideal state, changes in the position of the head, static, dynamic, should not affect the position of the body and other performed movements with the limbs.

Mental processes

Examples of mental process training

Before I move on to examples of mental process training, I will take a moment to talk about the mental process itself. Under mental processes, we can imagine operational functions (decisions, plans...), the reflection of which are our actions during sports activity. All our decisions represent operational or mental processes or are also a reflection of them. Their effectiveness is directly based on the effectiveness of sensory systems and the player's technical and movement maturity.


For a better idea, I've included another below EXAMPLES OF MENTAL PROCESSES FROM PRACTICE for multiple sports.



In the case of basketball, it can be the moment when we decide to fight for the ball that bounced off the hoop or the moment when we can predict how fast to pass the ball to a player who is running under the basket. Or thanks to the ability to read the development of the game well, to have a deep vision of the space and to anticipate the movement of players, to know when to set up a screen to release a teammate.



The correct timing of touching on block is a dynamic process that takes place on a mental level. The dominant visual system plays a key role here. 

Clarity of vision, during the entire time of approaching the block, is a prerequisite for creating a strategy "on the fly" - that is, during swimming. This strategy represents thought processes or operational calculations in which information is constantly updated about the position and speed of one's own body on the way to the block, about the perception of the internal state of the body, the effectiveness of the underwater shot and other factors. 

The above thought flow is often perceived by swimmers as a single idea of catching up as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

The inability to see clearly negatively affects the swimmer's ability to anticipate or estimate the most effective approach to the block. In practice, it can happen that the swimmer catches up either early or late. In this case, it is not only a matter of catching up, but also of the correct timing of swimming on the turn.

One thing is the efficiency of the swimming technique, another is the efficiency of the visual system. Finally, at critical moments, the visual system decides, creating the prerequisites for anticipation. A wrong guess can have a significant impact on who becomes the winner.



Here I will analyze the reception of the puck on the hockey stick in a situation where the hockey player's body is in motion.

The ability to receive the puck on the stick relies on the hockey player's ability to predict the speed of the puck and its flight phase. Does it fly at me or is it a pass in motion, when I am forced to speed up, slow down?

So the efficiency of the visual system, the quality of its information, plays a key role in our decision-making process. The adaptation of movement to the benefit of the given situation also follows from this.

The question is: Do I - as a hockey player - see the puck clearly or not clearly all the time, where is it flying and what is its speed?

The lack of clarity, the possible loss of vision of the puck, will immediately affect the hockey player's ability to predict, as well as a change in movement.

As an example, I will present 2 model situations - with a positive and then with a negative result:

The first consists in receiving the puck instead of the hockey stick, exactly as the hockey player intended.

In this case, it can be assumed that his visual system worked efficiently throughout the entire time of tracking the puck, thanks to which he was able to choose the ideal solution or make the right decision in favor of receiving the puck and establishing e.g. a new attack.

The second situation represents the moment when the hockey player received the puck instead of the hockey stick, for example with a skate.

There may be several reasons why this happened:

The first one is the disharmony between the efficiency of the visual system and the technical and movement maturity of the hockey player. In this case, it is a combination where the visual system provided quality information about the approaching puck all the time, but due to the angle and speed of the puck's approach, the hockey player was unable to direct his body in such a way that he could receive the puck on the stick. The question is, of course, at what speed he would be able to adjust the positioning of his body ideally in relation to the puck, and at what speed not - that means there is a certain technical limit for each individual.

The second reason lies in the opposite guard. That is, the lack of vision of the puck causes the hockey player not to receive quality information about the approaching puck, as a result of which his ability to predict how to adapt his body to receive the puck is impaired. As a result, he may be either in front of the puck or behind the puck. That is, the puck can hit the front or back skate, or it can, for example, miss it completely.

The third reason may be a good combination of an effective visual system and the technical maturity of the player, but an insufficiently developed mental component of the hockey player.

What to imagine before that?

The hockey player clearly sees the puck coming towards him all the time. In time, he anticipates and adjusts the positioning and speed of his own body in favor of receiving the puck. The entry of an opponent into the field of vision of a hockey player who is currently preparing to receive the puck, but may cause the ideal reception not to occur and the puck not ending up where the hockey player planned.

Why did this happen?

One of the many reasons can be the speed, or the speed of the opponent approaching the hockey player, which resulted either in the loss of the puck or the inability to receive it effectively.

How to understand it?

The suddenness, forcefulness, and speed of the opponent's movements had the effect that the mental processes of our hockey player were overloaded with the processing of visual information about the approaching opponent. Simply put, there was a disruption of operational, computational processes at the mental level. His system was not able to incorporate the information about the opponent into the created and already ongoing plan in such an extremely short time. The intensity of the information about the approaching opponent overwhelmed the operational processes and as a result the hockey player was not able to fully concentrate on the reception and his idea, the plan "fell apart".

In this case, we are talking about the efficiency of mental processes that try to process three data simultaneously. The first is the position and speed of our hockey player's own body, the position, speed and direction of the opponent and the speed, position and direction of the approaching puck. This is a dynamic story in which there are many variables.

The performance of the visual system is the primary prerequisite for handling such critical situations. Even the high technical-movement maturity of the player will be of no value if there is a disruption of mental processes that they cannot clearly foresee.

In the given model situation, it could be a solution where our hockey player, who is trying to receive the puck, would change his own trajectory and thus shorten the time to the puck, i.e. he would go directly to it, in order first of all to ensure the reception of the puck and then start build a plan to deal with the opponent.


For all the above examples, mental processes can be trained and strengthened, for example, by targeted stimulation of the nerves and brain or by simulating specific situations, or by making a simple situation more difficult, by choosing the appropriate intensity of the movement, sensory and mental components.

As an example of SIMULATIONS I will introduce the child's swimming training

It is important for a child who is learning to swim to experience and learn to accept discomfort and uncertainty - that is, for example, training as such or to experience a restless surface (waves), not just a calm surface of a pool in a swimming pool. Alternatively, different types of disturbance during training - other foreign swimmers nearby, others, e.g. children playing, splashing water, competing with others, i.e. various stressful situations. Only in this way will the child learn to concentrate and his mental processes will begin to form and develop, they will become durable and reliable even in the event of a non-standard or unexpected situation, e.g. on vacation with parents by the sea, when a wave "overruns" a child while playing in the sea or the sand moves under his feet.

As an example of SIMULATIONS I will introduce a preparatory match or swimming in real conditions.

Both basketball and hockey players must prepare for the match in the conditions in which the match normally takes place. It is not a relatively quiet training hall. They go through a simple situation, for example isolated dribbling or dribbling with the puck, with familiar teammates in training, but the noise and difficult lighting conditions, or interactions with an excited unknown opponent, to which they will be exposed in a match, are only simulated in the preparatory or a friendly match involving noisy spectators, bright lights and commercial and music breaks that will test the endurance of their mental processes.

The triathlete, on the other hand, trains the technique and calmly swims the necessary "volume" in the pool. But if he wants to mentally withstand the race on open water, he has to undergo simulated training outdoors, in different weather conditions, or in different mental and physical states (under stress, fatigue).

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