ARE You Functional Training?

Nov 7, 2020

 by Tony Cress

Functional Training.  That's a phrase that is thrown around more than a lot.  Every gym you go to talks about their functional training, from Crossfit, to 24 Hour Fitness, to Equinox, to F45 to Tony Cress Training Center.  But what IS functional training?  The answer may lie with what you are trying to accomplish.


First off, let's look at a generalized description of functional training.  Basically, it's anything that makes you better outside of the gym for your activities elsewhere.  So you could say that since you like to do pushups at home, bench press is functional training.  Since you sit in your car, sitting on a machine is functional training.  This doesn't seem right, does it?  Well, let us dig a little deeper.  Maybe functional training lives on a spectrum.  Functional for what?  THAT is basically how you are going to equate if training is functional.  Think about it this way.  If you are a tennis player, bench press, bicep curls and leg presses aren't super functional, beacuse they don't directly make you better at the skillset of tennis.  If you did agility drills, single sided exercises, reaction activities, and rotational exercises, that might improve your tennis ability, therefore what you are doing is functional for you.


Let's say you don't have a sport you are training for.  Your sport is life.  What do you need the ability to do in your life to expand your enjoyment of it, or to just be successful at it.  If you live a high stress life, maybe meditation is part of your functional training so you can learn to calm the bleep down.  If it improves your day to day, that would be functional.  Squats might directly apply to your ability to stay crouched down for your gardening hobby.  Corrective exercises may contribute to your ability to stay seated while you paint or work on the computer without increasing your lower back pain.  


What is functional, is functional to YOU.  How does what you are doing directly play into how you are living?  The more direct effect, the more functional the exercise.