“Functional Training, Functional Movements, Functional Fitness” We have all heard one of these terms before. But what do they mean? What is Functional Training? A coach might tell you something, a physio might tell you another. In this series of articles, we are going to discuss what Functional Training is based on the various settings this term is used.

To kick this series off, we are going to discuss what Functional Training is from a brand perspective. Which is on a global scale, a brand of fitness.

The brand of “Functional Training”

“Kettlebells”, “Battle ropes”, “Barbells”, “Burpees”, “High Intensity”, “Sled”, “sweat” The Buzz words of Functional Fitness. When you think of Functional Training, these words come to mind.

The idea of “branding” is constantly evolving as technology develops. From my understanding, branding is what gives a product its identity, how people can differentiate between two of the same product. For example, Nike is identified by the tick and Adidas is identified by the three stripes. Those are two brands, but produce the same products ie. sports apparel.

However, we can go much deeper than this. Lets look at association of products. If you go buy a pair of branded shoes for a marathon, and run a great race in them, you will most likely be loyal to that brand and associate good quality to their brand. This becomes a part of their identity, their branding…good quality.

Now before we go too far off topic, can you see how this relates to Functional Training? The feeling you get from doing a specific workout and using specific equipment is associated with what the brand offers ie. functional training.

Thanks to CrossFit, we now know Functional Training to be characterized by a particular training regime. Lets look at what this training regime is made up of.

Functional Training Workouts

Call it a style if you will. If you tell someone that you do Functional Training, they have a pretty good idea of what you are talking about. Now that we have the background covered, lets have a look at what this version of functional training looks like.

If I had to define Functional Training in terms of this setting it would be the manipulation of body weight or external objects in the most efficient and effective way.

What type of Equipment is typically used?
  • Barbells & Bumpers
  • Kettlebells
  • Pull up bars
  • Dumbbells
  • Plywood Boxes
  • Battle Ropes
  • Slam ball
  • Med Ball
What type of exercises are performed?
  • Olympic lifts (Clean & Jerk, Snatch)
  • Box Jumps
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Power lifts (Squat, Bench, Deadlift)
  • Lunges
  • Running
  • Ball Smalls
  • Wall Balls
  • MANY MORE!!!
What are the typical workout formats?
  • As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP)
  • Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)
  • Rounds for time (R4T)
  • TABATA (20sec work:10sec Rest)
  • Other interval or circuit formats

Wrap up

This tends to be what the “gen pop” think of Functional Training, hence why it has become a brand in itself. I myself am a CrossFit coach and absolutely love training this way. But I am also a healthcare practitioner and have worked as a sport specific coach. In these other settings, functional training is characterized somewhat differently. Next week we will look at functional training as a healthcare practitioner.

I hope you enjoyed this article and be sure to check out next weeks article.

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