What is functional fitness?

Posted: May 28, 2010 in Fitness, HIIT

Mention the term Functional Fitness and trainers everywhere nod in silent agreement.  Of course, we say, it’s the best way to train.  And then we’ll go on about the merits and say – have you tried this and how are you incorporating that and so on.

So, what is functional fitness?  Like the name suggests, it trains the body to move in a way that is functional – to strengthen and condition the body for everyday life.  Functional fitness training incorporates more than one joint movement at a time (compound movements) and trains several types of athletic skills within a session – namely: speed, agility, strength, balance, flexibility, power, endurance, and accuracy.  In functional fitness training you will do a lot of body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges, and see a great variety of fitness tools like balance boards, BOSU balls, kettlebells, ropes, rings, plyometric boxes, TRX’s, heavy bags, etc..  A major benefit of functional fitness training is working with the kinetic chain and teaching the muscles to fire in proper sequence.

For all that is great and completely sensible about functional training there is still great disparity between what trainers are espousing and what the public is doing.  It’s obvious as you walk into most traditional gyms.  What you see is thousands of pounds of heavy equipment designed to isolate and strengthen specific muscles – tools only really useful if you are a body builder.

Fitness fads come and go.  I’ve lived through a lot of unfortunate ones (think aerobics in the 80s’), but functional fitness training isn’t really a fad – it’s a new way of looking at the old and it’s making athletic training available to everyone.

Have a great weekend all y’all.


ps. the bloke in the above photo is doing the Turkish Getup, one of my current favorite functional fitness exercises.

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