How Functional Training Can Make You Stronger for Everyday Life

·2-min read
Photo credit: gradyreese - Getty Images
Photo credit: gradyreese - Getty Images

The only thing the fitness world loves more than a good pump is a great buzzword, which is why you’ll hear so many of them batted around the gym. From HIIT to bootcamp, EMOM to AMRAP, Tabata to BFR—weight room banter is filled with enough lingo to make anyone’s head spin. But if there’s one buzzy term you should pay particular attention to in your workouts, it’s this one: functional training.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it refers to performing exercises, using equipment, and generally training in a way that improves your physical performance in everyday life, not just in the gym. In practice, that might mean favouring free weights over machines, focusing primarily on full range of motion exercises, training in multiple planes of motion, and skewing your workouts toward compound rather than isolation movements.

The primary goal of functional training isn’t to increase absolute strength or build a bodybuilder-like physique (although using these types of workouts can help you achieve those ends as well). Rather, the objective is to become stronger and more powerful in your daily actions—from moving furniture and carrying heavy suitcases to dominating pick-up games and pushing cars out of ruts.

There are instances when it’s smart to employ training strategies that don’t pay direct dividends IRL. (If you’re struggling in a certain exercise, partial reps can help you bust through a plateau, for example.) But by and large, taking a more functional approach to your workouts will help you move more powerfully both in and out of the weight room.

No matter what your fitness goal is—hypertrophy, strength, power, weight loss, muscular endurance—you’ll benefit from making functional training the bedrock of your programme. Not sure where to start? Check out this functional training workout to begin building real world muscle today.

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