What Is Considered Functional Training?

Medically Reviewed on 9/8/2021
what is considered functional training
Functional fitness training is a kind of strength training that equips your body for everyday activities, improving core strength, balance, and stability

Functional fitness training is a kind of strength training that equips your body for everyday activities, focusing on muscles that are used for bending, twisting, lifting, pushing, pulling, and squatting. By simulating movements you make when carrying your groceries or playing with your kids, functional training aims to strengthen the right muscles and thus make daily tasks easier.

Most functional fitness training is designed to develop strength and range of motion in your knees, hips, spine, elbows, wrists, and shoulders. This type of training is especially good for older people since it promotes core strength, balance, and stability and reduces the risk of injury or falls.

What are examples of functional training exercises?

Instead of isolating muscle groups, functional training exercises teach all muscles to work together in harmony. They often combine resistance training and flexibility exercises to contribute to overall fitness.

Examples of functional training workouts that involve multiple joints and muscles include:

  • Farmers walk
  • Wall handstand push-up
  • Pull-up
  • Woman maker
  • Sled pull or push
  • One-arm kettlebell snatch
  • Crab reach
  • Jump squat
  • Turkish get-up
  • Dumbbell thruster

What are the principles of functional workouts?

To be successful, a functional training program should be adjusted to your requirements or goals for functional strength. Your program should:

  • Zero in on meaningful workouts, customized to your specific fitness level and overall health, including the existence of any current or previous injuries.
  • Improve your core strength, stability, balance, coordination, mobility, and range of motion.
  • Be consistent while also progressively adding difficulty.
  • Be useful for everyday life.

Is functional fitness training right for you?

If you have not exercised in a while, have health issues, or are pregnant, you should check with your primary care physician before beginning a new exercise program. Your doctor can help you evaluate what's best for you.

As with any new exercise, it’s important to start slow. For example, you may want to start by using your own body weight for resistance. Then, as you become more fit and get used to your new fitness regimen, you can add a little more resistance. Try to avoid adding too much resistance or doing high impact exercises, which can put stress on joints and delicate tissues especially if not performed correctly.


Pictures of the 7 Most Effective Exercises to Do at the Gym or Home (and Tips to Improve Form) See Slideshow

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 9/8/2021
Pacheco MM, Teixeira LA, Franchini E, Takito MY. Functional vs. Strength training in Adults: Specific Needs Define the Best Intervention. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013;8(1):34-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3578432/

Shaw G. Working Out for Real Life Functions. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/working-out-for-real-life-functions