Workout Tips

Reap the Rewards of True Functional Training

See why this training approach is best suited for greater overall physical performance.

Deadlift barbell at gym

One of the latest buzzwords in the fitness industry used ad nauseam by personal trainers is “functional” training. Yet, when I ask what they mean by functional, I either get blank stares or some egghead pointing to the battle ropes. If you are at a commercial gym and are not surrounded by people doing curls on a bosu ball or flailing around on the battle ropes, consider yourself lucky. If you think it’s annoying when people curl in the squat rack, try having the squat rack taken by someone doing 45 lb. curls standing on a bosu ball… it’s infuriating!

Functional Training Defined

Guy in Gym

So what is functional training? In different contexts it could have different definitions. If you are an athlete participating in a sport then functional training would be training that has a high rate of transfer to your sport. More commonly (since most gym goers are not training for a specific sport) it means exercises that involve training the body for activities performed in daily life.

Unless you work on the docks tying up boats all day when was the last time you had a day where that battle rope training came in handy? Or how about the bosu ball? You stand on a lot of inflated balls every day at work? I’m guessing the answer is no.

Why has it become so popular?

Functional training has become popular because it is an important concept, and a recreational gym goer should be training with everyday activities in mind. It's just that the modalities commonly associated with functional training (bosu balls, battle ropes, etc.) are not functional. If you are around the fitness industry long enough you will see fads come and go. But the truly functional and effective exercises weather each one of these storms.

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