What Is Functional Training?


I’m sure you have heard the term functional training before. But do you really know what it means?

Any Internet search will result in definitions galore, from complex to simple. Because of the upcoming opening of our new functional training area at the club I thought it would be appropriate to talk about functional training a bit.

Many of our coaches here at Sky Fitness approach training from this functional training school of thought, while others work from the traditional strength training or body building format. I myself am glad that we can provide many types and combination of approaches to fitness for our members.

Functional training came on the fitness scene many years ago from the field of physical therapy. Physical Therapist Gary Gray is often regarded as the father of functional training in the way that he rehabilitated his patients and progressed them to fitness training.  I attended my first educational course on functional training and assessment in the early 90’s.

Athletic Trainers most often used functional training when rehabilitating athletes and getting them back on to the playing field. Subsequently functional training has moved in to the fitness arena.

Functional training simply refers to using exercises or developing exercise programs that mimic daily activities or a specific sport.

For example if I had a patient in therapy that needed to return to a physical job of lifting something from the floor, turning and placing it on a shelf, I would choose exercises that will help him return to that activity. So with this example it would be much better to choose a functional exercise to build leg strength, rather than sitting on a leg extension machine & kicking the leg up against resistance.

We take many factors in account when choosing exercises and developing personal training programs, including but not limited to goals and daily activities.  We were all made to move and to feel good when we move, that’s why corrective exercise and functional training go together when we develop exercise programs.

For more information feel free to ask any of our personal trainers about functional training or functional exercises that would be appropriate for you. And stay tuned for more information on our new functional training area that will be opening soon!