| | True Functional Training
First, lets look at what functional actually means.
Functional - Func.tion.al
1. capable of operating or functioning
2. capable of serving the purpose for which it was intended
(Webster's Encyclopedia 2nd Edition, 1996)
Based on that definition, you can draw many conclusions as to what is functional. Depending upon who you ask, you will most likely get a diverse variety of responses as to what is functional. All human movement is a combination of various functions. Human movement cannot take place without muscular function. According to the functional training "experts", functional training uses bands, balls, free-weights, and plyometric exercises in an attempt to condition the body in an un-stable environment. Many of the experts feel that performing exercises that mimic activities or specific skills is the most effective way to train, regardless of ones goal.
Physical fitness is oriented on an ability to perform physical work. The term "lifting-weights" is merely gym jargon for machine-based training and/or conventional style free-weight- bodybuilder style weight training. Functional exercises use compound movements. This provides a well-rounded form of training as well as allows your body to practice movements performed practically every day in natural life.
Comparing functional form of strength to a non-functional form of strength through a particular exercise. Take the bicep curl, in its many forms- it is a non-functional exercise as you almost never do anything in life that requires just that part of your body to move in that exact way. Now picture the pull-up with your palms facing you. This is definitely working the bicep, shoulder, back, forearm grip, and most of all abs/core strength. This is a functional exercise and one that will produce some of the absolute best overall results.
A strong person must be someone who is coordinated, agile, accurate, and have good balance or else their strength cannot be maximized to accomplish a lift or even a simple everyday task.
In order to maximize human performance, you must have a good understanding of what affects performance. The factors that play the greatest role in performance are:
Power (Strength and Speed)
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Conditioning
Sport Skill (Neuromuscular Coordination and Efficiency)
If your goal is optimum physical competence
then all the general physical skills must be considered:
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance- The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
2. Stamina - The ability of body systems
to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
4. Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
8. Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
9. Balance - The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
Functional training focuses directly on the core and working every muscle group in conjunction with the core.