What Is Functional Training?

@michael_boyle1959 sums this up well “Function is, essentially, purpose. When we use the word ‘function’ we are saying that something has a purpose. So when we apply that term to training for sports we are talking about purposeful training for sports.”⁣ ⁣ Too often we get caught up in trying to mimic the exact movement patterns we see out on the competition floor because we believe that to be ‘functional’. This is what some people refer to as sports-specific training. However, sports-specific training takes place during your sports training – on the oval, pitch, court, in the ring, cage, pool etc. What is ‘functional’ doesn’t actually vary all that much from sport to sport.⁣ ⁣ Here’s 3 questions Mike asks in relation to functional training:⁣ ⁣ #1: How many sports are played sitting down? Only a few, such as rowing. Exercises in the seated position shouldn’t take up too much space in the program.⁣ ⁣ #2: How many sports are played in a rigid environment where stability is provided by outside sources? Probably 0. Stability in the sporting environment is created by the athlete and their ability to coordinate their body. The use of machines isn’t as functional compared to free weights.⁣ ⁣ #3: How many sports are performed by one joint acting in isolation? Zero. These may not be the most functional exercises to put into the program.⁣ ⁣ In saying all that, we break the rules sometimes. We give our athletes the option to do more isolation work at the end of the workout or on their 6th or 7th session for the week – AFTER they’ve completed the functional work. We also do some exercises seated when necessary and we’ll do direct isolation work for things like the midline, upper back / shoulder stabilisers and the hips. > 90% of the work is ‘functional’, the remainder is mostly for fun.⁣ ⁣ In summary, “a functional training program prepares an athlete to play his sport.” It’s not using balance balls and or doing bootcamp classes. It’s developing capacity through strength, speed and energy system work so the athlete can improve their performance and reduce their risk of injury.⁣ ⁣ Photo from ‘New Functional Training for Sports’ #one22


Recent Posts

See All