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 â€œfunctionalâ€ 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.