If you were expecting to read (yet) another blog post on “functional training”, how to best perform it, and what are the best exercises for it, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
This post is about the simplification of the scientific terms (with respect) to understand what functional training stands for and for whom it is ideal.
Meanwhile, “everyone” knows what it is, or -at least- you have seen at least once in your life a person doing such “weird” exercises that are …well, challenging for the “average gym guy”. This is actually a (small) part of the functional training world. I say “small” on purpose, because functional training is much more and…. much less than that.
Huh?! No worries – This will make sense in a bit!
Yes, I didn’t mistype and I’m not kidding you either. Functional training is not just exercises like the “180°-on-a-bosu-bouncing-with-a-medicine-ball-in-a-hand-jump-while-keeping-your-eyes-closed” and YES:
YOU can do functional training, too!
In fact, you should.
“But, why?” you ask yourself, logically, and that’s the right question.
But first, let’s find our own definition of “functional training” that is appropriate for you. As the name suggests, “functional training” is made up of the words “functional” and “training.”
The term training means “a process controlled according to plan, in which with content, methodical and organizational measures, according to an objective, changes of state of the complex sport-motor performance, ability to act and behavior are to be developed“. (Source: MARTIN, D., Grundlagen der Trainingslehre . Vol. 1: The content structure of the training process. Schorndorf, Hofmann, 1977).
What we keep from it are in any case the words “according to plan, content and methodology, goal conception, change of state, performance, of the ability to act and behavior”.
Regarding the term functional we find the following explanation: “fulfilling the function, effective in the sense of the function; functioning, concerning the functions, having a certain function” (source) where “function” is understood as “(clearly defined( activity, task within a larger context; role.” (source). From this we simply keep the “clear activity/task”.
So… Functional Training is for us the process whose methodology and content lead to performance development, which refers to a clear task.
For example: Both a wrestler and Aunt Karen can (and should) have clear goals, but (in our example) they have two different tasks due to their age and …interests. Our wrestler should remain agile and flexible, but strong enough to “throw” his opponent to the ground. Aunt Karen, who with her 85 years is no longer the youngest and even getting up from bed is a challenge, must also remain mobile and strong enough to move her own body weight.
See what I did there?
Indirectly, I have answered your question. Functional training is for everyone who still wants to actively participate in life – no matter if you are an athlete, a hobbyist or a pensioner!
By the way, in this post I would like to remind you that as a child you used to walk and run around for hours, climb trees, play in the deep squat position, didn’t need a chair to sit and, meanwhile, we’ve managed that most of our fellow human beings need a support to get up from the sofa…!
What has become out of your inner child?
Are you also an immobile one, with “work related” back and neck pain, or are you still fully or mostly functional? This functional ability and much more has the Functional Training to offer you and if you do not know yet exactly:
a) what you can (re)gain in quality of life or/and
b) how it should work at all,
then you might want to consider getting in touch with a fitness professional. We’ll be happy to help you!