What is Functional Training

This was the question that Neil Parsley and myself asked each other when we were putting together our presentation for the Smart Fitness Functional Training Summit. It is a term that get used a lot, but stop and ask yourself what does it actually mean. OK, I'll tell you what it isn't, it is not wobbling around on a stability ball performing bicep curls with kettlebells whilst whistling a happy tune - that is a second rate circus act! Neil and I came up with the main factors that contribute to an exercises being considered 'functional'.

In our opinion your exercise is “functional” if it satisfies one or more of the following criteria;

1.Biomechanics (movement) - the movement patterns should have a transfer of training effect to the actual sporting movements.

2.Metabolic - the correct energy systems should be conditioned during the drill

3.Force velocity - appropriate loads are used to train the correct part of the force velocity curve

4.Combination - sport! When putting together your training programmes and selecting exercises take some time to consider if they meet the criteria, or if you are simply putting together a 'hollywood' session/drill that looks fancy but doesn't really have any impact on performance or results.


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