What is functional training? It’s been the buzz term in the fitness industry lately, but it’s origins come from the beginning of the fitness boom. Way before the nautilus/universal era of the 1960’s. I’ve noticed in the last few years every gym, studio, and fitness warehouse now offers functional training. Sounds cool, but do you know what you are signing up for? I’ve seen trainers have their clients doing circus tricks, moves that look like a sobriety tests and Olympic powerlifting calling it “functional training”.
I remember attending the IDEA world fitness convention in 1999 and being exposed to the real functional training experts like Vern Gambetta, Juan Carlos Santana, and Paul Chek. “Functional training is movement with a purpose.” Functional training claims to train movements not muscles. This movement training approach should incorporating the “4 Pillars.”
The “4 pillars of Human Movement.”
1. Standing and locomotion
2. Level Changes
3. Pushing and pulling
4. Rotational force production
Benefits from this program are improved balance and stability. Better results using less weight. You will burn more calories because of greater muscle mass training. It’s safe, effective, and fun!
Your functional training program should have a safe progression methodology. Proper progression is the key to safety and effectiveness. Functional moves can help rehab, help with weight loss, and improve sports performance.
Here are a few functional training modalities.
1. Bands (tubing)
2. Med balls. Provide functional eccentric loading & catch and play capability.
3. Dumbbells. All moves can be performed tri-planar.
Remember when your trainer starts talking about functional training, ask yourself is this improving my movement goals. Is this movement really helping my golf swing?