What is Functional Training?

Functional training, also known as personalized functional training, is a fitness trend originally used by physical therapists. Physical therapists often work with clients suffering from a chronic injury (knee or back). During therapy, the client learns how to exercise without aggravating their condition. The goal is to strengthen the target and surrounding muscles. Subsequently, this improves how the client performs everyday activities. These activities include bending, squatting, reaching and kneeling. This should be a main motivator behind smart strength training.

Functional Training: What is it?

Functional training involves performing work against resistance in a way that improves strength, enhancing the performance of everyday activities. Think of functional training in terms of moving through a series of smooth, rhythmic motions in the three planes of movement (frontal, transverse, and sagital). A frontal exercise would be a forward lunge, a transverse exercise would be a side leg lunge and a sagital exercise would involve bending or twisting in the core area.

Some of the movement activities you may perform during the day include walking, running, jumping, reaching, lifting, bending, pushing, pulling, twisting and turning, climbing and lunging. Functional training is all about transferring the improvements in strength gained (in one movement) to enhance the performance of another movement. Another goal of functional training is to enhance the coordination and relationship between your nervous and muscular systems.

Functional Training: Significance

There is a difference between personal training and personalized functional training programs. Unlike traditional programs, such as boot camp and CrossFit, is that the client does not perform movements until he/she is ready to handle it. It is an alternative option to the standard one-size-fits-all approach to fitness. A client is screened and assessed by a certified personal trainer. After observing the client’s unique movement patterns, he/she develops an appropriate fitness program for that client. The trainer designs the program using a series of ‘purposeful’ movements according to the client’s current fitness level.