New fitness and sports trends currently pop up and change as regularly as new fashion styles or the charts on Spotify and it can get very confusing and hard to identify what is good and efficient and what works for oneself. One of these current very à la mode fitness phenomena is functional training. Now whenever I tell people/clients about functional training, the first question I most often get, is: what is functional training? Functional training uses, and more importantly practices, movements that people need in their daily lives, movements like walking up stairs, picking up a glass from a shelf, lifting a grocery box or taking a stroller out of the trunk of the car. In doing so, muscles are being used and reinforced in their actual “function” and not with the help of a machine. The ultimate goal of functional training is not necessarily the building up or development of a specific muscle but to increase its functionality. The training mainly, but not exclusively, focuses on balance, stability (joint stabilisation) as well as coordination and mobility with a big focus on core and lower back strength. Contrary to many machines we find in gyms, which often allow movements in only one or two directions, functional training focuses on multidimensional movements. It works a lot with body weight alone but also with different equipment such as ViPR, kettle bells, Togu balls, fitness balls, TRX and many more, which makes it easy to take the workout wherever you want….your backyard, office, park or living room. Having recently been certified as a functional trainer with the Crosshaus Berlin, I have become a huge fan of this kind of workout because it not only provides a fun, challenging and very varied workout but it is also crucial to not only prevent injuries but also contribute to recovery from injuries and has a corrective function for example for people with incorrect posture or other pre-conditions. Of course: in sports there is no one size fits all and what may work for one person may not work for another, however, if you are looking for a workout in a save and healthy environment, functional training is a great solution.
I am not a future teller (I sometimes wish I was), however, I strongly believe that functional training is not just another trend that will disappear after the first hype is over, but will remain/become an important factor in the fitness and gym world but also in our every day lives, simply because at the end of the day: what is more important (especially when getting older): having a perfectly toned body or being to able to carry your groceries and walking up the stairs of your house without pain (by the age of 70)??