The what’s and why’s of “functional training.”
Fitness is full of buzzwords and jargon—so what is functional fitness, and why is it important?
Here’s the answer:
Functional fitness is used to help people become better at things they do in daily life. The movements used in this style are often—but not always—very similar to the movements you do every day.
For example, squats are an important functional movement because they help you rise from seated to standing. Deadlifts help you pick objects off the floor—like groceries, a kid, a pet or a box. Shoulder presses can help you put a bag of dog food on a shelf, and farmer carries can help you get the trash to the curb.
Other movements, like kettlebell swings, have significant carryover into daily life: If you learn to open your hips quickly, you’ll likely be able to hop over a puddle or run to catch the bus.
If you compare functional training to bodybuilding, the concept is even more clear.
The goal of bodybuilding is to gain muscle mass, so people use all kinds of machines, implements and movements to isolate certain muscles. Then they use specific sets, reps and rest intervals to encourage muscle growth. Bodybuilders are generally interested in size, tone and symmetry, not cardiovascular endurance, stamina, flexibility and so on.
One more comparison: powerlifting. Powerlifters want to become as strong as possible in just three movements. So everything they do is designed to help them move more weight in the squat, bench press and deadlift. They also use specific equipment and workout plans to achieve these goals.
With functional fitness, the goal is much more general: increased total fitness.
The 10 Functional Fitness Domains
To improve overall fitness, the functional method emphasizes full-body movements, free weights rather than machines, lots of variety, and workouts of differing length and intensity.
These programs are not “random,” but they don’t look like traditional routines that call for 3 sets of 8-10 reps in every workout.
Here are four very different functional fitness workouts that will help you become fitter in general:
- Run 5 kilometers.
- In 20 minutes, do as many rounds as possible of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats.
- Perform 5 sets of 5 heavy barbell back squats.
- Perform 21-, 15- and 9-rep rounds of dumbbell push presses and box jumps.
When put together in an exercise plan, workouts like this are designed to help people improve all these things:
- Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance.
With that list in front of you, you can see why someone who does functional training usually has the ability to perform well in any physical task inside or outside the gym.
A program like this can also be used to help someone lose weight or body fat, gain muscle and strength, or improve conditioning. Some people even use this style of workouts to improve performance in sports. It’s incredibly potent and a lot of fun.
Is Functional Training for You?
So is functional fitness better than other styles?
It depends on your specific goal. It can be very effective, and it’s incredibly enjoyable in a one-on-one setting or in a group! But if you prefer other methods or have specific goals beyond general fitness, another style might work better for you.
The good news: We can tell you how to train to accomplish your goals—whatever they are. We know all the different styles of working out well and can provide an exact plan that will bring success.
At Fit Foundry we like to present this style in a few way. One on One, Small Group Personal, and Large Team.
With Large Team, we have 20-25 people per session, you are motivated by the others around you, in our ACCELERATOR, GRIND, INFERNO, YOGA, REFINED or TITANIUM programs. These five programs are designed to work together, help you find your fit, build a foundation toward your personalized goal, and keep you burning!
You will have a network of people to connect with about your progress and goals. Get lifestyle advice from other gym class members, push each other, or hang out after training.
Our coaches are trained, educated, and certified to lead group classes. They know how to keep you safe while helping you reach your potential in our gym.
When you exercise alone, coming to the gym can feel like a chore. Group workouts are lively and exciting. You might find yourself looking forward to exercising. You will continuously improve with our varied routines. Enjoy lasting results while having fun at our gym!
Semi-private or Small Group is a fantastic middle ground between one-on-one and large group fitness classes. As the name suggests, semi-private/small group involves small groups of individuals, training together under the guidance of a professional coach.
Though done in a group (5 people max) semi-private allows for a high degree of individual attention from the trainer. This ensures that each participant is performing exercises correctly and safely, while also making sure they are being challenged appropriately according to their fitness level.
Semi-private provides many of the benefits of one on one but at a lower cost making it a more affordable option for people who still want a personalized workout experience.
Working out in a small group can create a supportive atmosphere that can motivate you to push harder and achieve more. It’s a great way to stay accountable and consistent with your fitness routine.
Semi-private can accommodate different fitness levels within the same group. The trainer can modify exercises for each individual to ensure everyone is working out at an appropriate intensity.
Working in a small group can create a supportive atmosphere that can motivate you to push harder and achieve more. It’s a great way to stay accountable and consistent with your fitness routine.