Back to Basics: Func­tion­al Train­ing – A Trend Or More?

Back to Basics: Func­tion­al Train­ing – A Trend Or More?

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.

Functional Training

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 askus@pixformance.com or just leave us a com­ment in the sec­tion below.