What really is Functional Training and why should I be using it?
Updated: Mar 18, 2022
Functional training is a method of exercising that is easily transferable into daily living with the overarching aim of making movement safer and easier.
Functional training naturally brings with it multiple benefits including, weight loss, muscle toning, joint mobility and core strength.
So how could functional training help me?
Whether you're looking to feel less stiff and achy in the mornings or you want to compete in your first triathlon event, functional training when designed properly can benefit many different goals.
This is because it promotes the use of quality movement over quantity of movement - which can reduce injuries, improve body awareness and increase body co-ordination and core/joint stabilisers.
These abilities are often the foundations of many training and movement programs, hence why functional training lends itself to many different goals.
"But I have heard that isolating muscles with static machines is the best way to tone up"
Isolating muscle groups is still a popular training method but it's becoming less used as we learn more about the benefits of other more effective training methods for performance and well-being.
If your goal is to become a bodybuilder with near perfect muscle symmetry with little worry about anything else, then isolating muscles could be the best thing for you.
But like most of us, if you just want to gain a range of new health and fitness abilities, then functional training is a better choice.
Interestingly though, many bodybuilders still use elements of functional training within their routines using some core compound lifts to help build full body strength and core.
"I have a bad back and can't lift anything, so I can't train right?"
Within our South Bristol studio we see around 70-80% of individuals that have/have had localised/general back pain. The average person in Bristol works long hours sitting down at a desk and/or driving, which increases muscle imbalances. These imbalances tend to happen through the hips and back muscles, which creates the perfect environment for back pain and stiffness to set in.
The good news is that with functional training you can adapt your training when you have back pain (dependant on severity) although we would always advise you seek professional advice first before starring any new exercise program.
An experienced exercise professional will make a plan for you that is progressive and realistic with a clear focus on getting you out of pain first, before moving on to building endurance, strength and power.
Research shows that staying active is one of the best ways to prevent/improve back pain as it helps to keep the spine hydrated and mobile, which reduces pain and stiffness.
The development of deep core muscles that help protect your spine from everyday loads, is a vital part of maintaining a healthy back, which functional training can improve.
"I'm too overweight to go to the gym and can't do anything productive so what's the point"
The beauty of using functional movements is that many of them can be progressed and regressed as per an individuals needs.
Many of the exercises/routines that we use here at Functional Fitness Bristol are body weight based, which allows all individuals no matter their weight to workout in a safe and effective way.
So if you are looking to start a new exercise routine or change up your current one, then give functional training some thought.
With the multiple benefits and the adaptability of functional programs to almost any goal, it could be the perfect solution for your new fitness goals and lifestyle.
P.s If you would like to speak to a coach about how to get started please get in touch via the chat box on the website or email us firstname.lastname@example.org where we can talk you through our offers.