Doctors, physiotherapists and fitness coaches: everyone is talking about functional training. But what’s behind the trend and is it more than just a hype? And more importantly, how does it differ from “conventional” forms of training? PixTips wants to shed some light into these and many other questions surrounding this fascinating topic. That’s why we are introducing a series, which is dedicated to everything about functional training. In our posts we seek answers to questions like: What exactly is functional training? Why is it so popular? What are the benefits of it and who can do functional training? In this post we want to provide a more general overview, before we dive into the topic some more.
What exactly is functional training?
Functional training is a philosophy that originated in the USA. As its name already suggests, the goal of functional training is to prepare the body for tasks that are functional and performed in everyday life. Whether it’s jumping, running, pulling or returning to an upright position, climbing stairs, lifting things or turning in different directions, functional training covers them all and excites because of its versatility. This is also why this exercise philosophy is not only popular in professional sports, but is now also well established in fitness studios and in rehabilitation centers.
What’s so special about functional training?
In contrast to conventional forms of training, functional training does not rely on traditional fitness or rehabilitation equipment like the leg press or butterfly machines, which all only target certain muscles in isolation. Functional training shifts the focus to a more practical full-body workout, which prepares you for a multitude of tasks performed in everyday life. Using either your own body-weight or spicing things up with free weights, medicine balls or ropes, with this type of training you’re able to strengthen your body in the areas that are relevant to your individual needs. Functional training therefore differs from other workouts because of the way it targets your body and thereby not only enhances strength, flexibility and mobility but also teaches you holistic movement patterns, which are actually relevant to you daily life. Muscle development is a positive side effect, but not the main focus of this kind of workout.
Functional training centers on exercises like squats, pushups and lunges amongst many other exercises. All of them enhance the ability of athletes to balance and stabilize their own body-weight, while also engaging the entire body. This lowers the risk of injury in sports significantly. But not only athletes can profit from this. Functional training is for everyone as it generally increases your endurance and helps you to build muscle, which ultimately increases your metabolism. Ultimately, people who integrate functional training in their exercise routines are better prepared for the complexities of everyday life.
A Trend or more?
Even though functional training is often described as a trend, it has in fact a long history. For decades, professional athletes have already integrated functional exercises into their workout routine and have benefited from their advantages. In the early 1960s Michael Boyle already published his now canonical work Functional Training For Sports, which laid the foundation for many others. Today these insights have been developed and are also applied in the medical field and the fitness industry. Functional training is therefore far more than just a trend. It is a philosophy of training with lasting impact that enables people of all fitness levels to prepare for the unique challenges they are facing in a healthy way.
The next posts of this series will delve into this topic some more and hopefully provide some more insights into functional training and for example talk about the benefits of this type of workout. We would also like to hear your questions, comments and about your experiences with functional training. Feel free to contact as via mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or just leave us a comment in the section below.