Functional Training 101

Originating many moons ago, functional training has undergone many changes in defining what it is and how it is practised.

That being said, the basics of what constitutes “functional training” have always remained as follows:

 
  • It enhances the performance of every day activities, allowing a better quality of life and daily living.

  • Often incorporated or included in yoga, Pilates and conditioning for specific sports.

  • Targets the neuromuscular system which includes nerves and muscles, not just muscles. This is important for brain training and creating a mind muscle connection which trains your brain to better remember movement patterns. 

What does it do?

 
  • Aims to challenge and improve dynamic and static balance, coordination and proprioception (this is defined as "perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body").

  • Allows us to find our weaker areas so we can target them more specifically by working the body in a chain like motion. From top to bottom, flowing through movements.

  • Reduces risk of injury and increases ROM (range of motion).

Benefits:

In one study, participants that were prescribed functional training decreased their number of injuries by 42%

Time off work due to injuries also decreased by 62% over 12 months

It is also important to note that functional training should not be your only type of training, but rather a strong component of it, variety if key for optimal performance and health.

A great place to start your functional training journey is with a fitness assessment performed by a health professional, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist or personal trainer. This will allow you to gain a better idea of your starting bench mark and what areas you can work to improve on through specific functional training movements.