Often people come to me and ask questions about ‘Functional Training’. It seems like those 2 words are very fashionable the last few years.
Real Functional Training is great because when done properly, it helps you:
– Prepare for everyday activities – Avoid injuries doing everyday activities – Improve balance and joint stability – Improve range of motion
- Increase core stability and strength – And much more
Functional Training has many more benefits and is essential to good health and performance. However we need to be careful not to get stuck with these 2 words in our head and instead open our mind to other things. That’s why, instead of praising Functional Training, I prefer talking about variety! After all, if you are a proper "hybrid" or well rounded athlete, you'll automatically be doing many functional movements and have very capable physical abilities.
Fitness and training has taken huge leaps in the last decades and our knowledge has expanded tremendously. People used to work out on standard resistance machine with single plane motions and even though these are relatively safe, they also have many drawbacks. Others perhaps did bodybuilding, steady state cardio or just some morning walks. None of these things are wrong. However, they will most likely not give the results most people are looking for.
Now that we know so much more about training, it has also become more complicated for the average person to figure out which workout is best. One person probably woke up one day and thought about a concept called Functional Training. It’s a great way to market the product and makes people understand what the goal is.
Functional training is great but I believe variety is more important. Depending on your goals, mix things up. Nowadays, so many workout classes and equipment (TRX, kettle bells and even some machines) already give you such a great workout with multi plane motions and work the stabilizing muscles that you don’t have to worry so much about what’s functional and what’s not. Simply switch things up and do some hiking, some high intensity drills, kettle bell workouts, TRX training, steady state cardio and yes, weight lifting and other types of resistance training. The variety in your training will make much more capable.
If you put a lot of variety in your workout, you don’t have to worry about throwing some single plane and isolation exercises in. Too many people are too focussed on ‘Functional Training’ or whatever else the latest hype is, which causes them to miss out on so much more.
I personally complete a lot of HIIT training, TRX, kettle bell, body weight exercises, MMA, weight training and I feel like my body is very prepared for everyday activities plus my injury rate has been practically zero, even though my training load is high.
So don’t get hung up on 2 words (or any for that matter) that’s used for marketing purposes. Instead, try new things, do different classes and switch it up! Different stimuli will only make you a stronger and healthier athlete. As long as you work out responsibly and give your body the time to adjust and recover, you will be happy you did!