Functional Training: What It Is and Why We Need It

Functional Training photo

As people even slightly interested in fitness and health know there are many fads and trends in workouts, from the reasonable and scientifically supported to the most extreme. People who exercise have basically the same goals:

  • Weight Loss/Maintenance
  • Increased Strength/Maintenance
  • Increased Physical Endurance/Maintenanc
  • Improved Mental Health/Maintenance
  • Emotional Health/Maintenance

The road to fitness includes strength training such as weight lifting, conditioning, aerobics, flexibility workouts such as yoga, and etc. In this post we’ll be looking at functional training, what it is exactly and its importance to all of us, not just the “fitness freaks.”

What Is Functional Training?

Functional training is a classification of exercise that involves training the body in ways that make it more able to handle activities of daily life. It’s basically a form of physical training that improves the way we move through our life, through our daily routines. Since it focuses on everyday movements, this type of training is often used with pregnant women, the elderly, and patients in physical rehabilitation. These groups of people need to increase and maintain their strength in basic moves.

Functional training has actually been around for quite awhile. It has its origins in rehabilitation, being used by chiropractors and physical therapists to help patients regain their strength after an injury or illness.

Examples of Functional Training Moves

What are some basic functional training moves suggested by fitness experts?

Why We Need It

Every day we all engage in functional movements: pushing, pulling, lifting, rotating, carrying, walking, running, etc. As we get older our flexibility and strength decrease. It’s important to counteract this decrease and functional exercises do that. The same goes if we’re injured, ill, or go through medical experiences such as surgery. Functional training will help with regaining strength and flexibility. Functional training in the early stages of pregnancy will help ensure that as the fetus becomes bigger and stronger the expectant mom is able to maneuver and carry out daily activities with ease. It will also help postnatally, keeping the mom strong and flexible enough to handle carrying, lifting, bending, etc. with an infant in her arms.  

In functional training the main idea is for each exercise to incorporate natural movements that will carry over into your daily life. For example, doing squats and increasing your ability and form will carry over to increased strength and ability to get up and down when you’re sitting in a chair. Weight bearing exercises using your arms and back will help in lifting and carrying in everyday activities.


Do we all need functional training? Most fitness experts say yes. Becoming strong and maintaining that strength can only be beneficial. However it’s very important to consult with your health care provider before beginning any new fitness program. If you’re pregnant or if your  health is compromised it is especially important to not only get the go-ahead first from your physician but to also keep them involved as you proceed with your fitness program.

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Post by Andrea Rogers