Why Functional Training?

Updated: Apr 24, 2018

April 2018 | Axel Neree | Tru Function


Functional training is about movement, not muscles.

Mike Boyle, a well known Strength Coach, talks about defining functional training with 3 questions. Though they're usually ask for sports training, I think we can ask these questions for everyday health seekers like you & I.

1. How many sports are played sitting down? Zero.

2. How many sports are played where stability is provided by outside sources? None.

3. How many sports skills are performed by one joint acting in isolation? Zero.

In other words, almost all physical experiences (sports or not) you have in your life require some sort of standing movement, stability & multiple joints working together. Examples:

  • Walking

  • Dancing

  • Riding a bike

  • Hiking

  • Running

  • Going up the stairs

  • Grabbing the groceries out of the car

  • Carrying your toddler

When thinking of training, I like to think of 2 things. Stability & Mobility. This is what I like to focus on when working out. Either we're doing an exercise to develop your mobility or we're performing an exercise to develope your stability. Sometimes we do both simultaneously!

Once we can master basic functional movements, developing our body awareness, then we can move on to add weights & other tools help add strength to our function & increase our stability.

“Functional training intentionally incorporates balance & proprioception (body awareness) into training through the use of unilateral exercises” - Mike Boyle

In order to create body awareness, try working unilaterally more. Think of single leg work.

  • Your ability to function on 1 leg plays a major role in almost all physical activities & certainly in all sports.

  • Think running, your usually with just 1 foot/ leg on the ground pushing to get to the other.

  • Think dancing.

If you can develop better movement & stability unilaterally, you will definitely be a better functioning human being. So WHY functional training? It has two main purposes. When we train we’re either aiming for stability or mobility.

  • Are we aiming to be able to move better today or are we aiming to be more stable?

If you’re a human being, you will benefit from being able to move better & being more stable. It really doesn’t matter who you are, pro athlete, overweight, old, young, fat, skinny, mom, dad, FUNCTIONAL TRAINING is for you!

Functional training is training to develop movement & stability.

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