Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What is Functional Training?

Functional training is a popular form of exercise in today’s fitness world. Functional is a word that is used a bit too loosely, so what does it mean to “train functionally”? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) defines it as: “...the primary goal of functional training is to transfer the
improvements in strength achieved in one movement to enhancing the performance of another movement by affecting the entire neuromuscular system”.1  Functional training involves training a movement just as much as you are training a muscle.1 You want the movement to be as precise as you can make it to both avoid injury, and to teach your body to be efficient at moving. This can benefit athletes as well as the general public.

Athletes will learn how to move well, which will help in their sport. When you are moving the way your body was designed to move, you will run better, jump better, and throw better. When you work at strengthening the specific muscles that create that precise moment, even better results will arise. As for the general public, functional training will enhance their everyday life. Think about daily activities and how they can relate to an exercise.

  • Picking a box up from the floor: Deadlift
  • Getting up off of your couch: Squat
  • Putting something away on the top shelf: Overhead Press

These are just a few examples, but when you begin your functional training journey you will start doing daily activities differently. Chances are you will not injure yourself when doing simple tasks either!

Functional training usually does not involve the use of exercise machines. These machines create stability so your body doesn’t have to. These are great for beginners to gain some strength in a safe environment, but this strength does not always carry over to everyday activities. It is just as important to strengthen the stabilizing muscles as it is to strengthen the larger muscles. Functional training involves, and increases strength in, all the muscles that are carrying out a particular movement.

When paired with other exercise modalities, functional training can be very beneficial to everyone. Training your mind and muscles to move correctly in all situations will enhance every lifestyle!


1Bryant, C. X. (n.d.). What is functional strength training? Retrieved May 29, 2011, from

2Five Functional Exercises You Need to Master. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2016, from  

1 comment:

  1. I had no clue what functional strength training was, you learn something new everyday! This is a great read especially for beginners! I agree with your statement, these are great for beginners to gain some strength in a safe environment.