Functional Training, What is it, What are its Advantages

The relationship between Functionality and Sport, which has given way to the well-known Functional Training, is a somewhat ambiguous concept and is not entirely clear. It is thought to have to do with everything away from the typical gym dumbbells and bars …

For sure, no one is able to give a true definition of what it is, although we can establish certain interpretations based on the sporting field.

What is a Functional-Training?

We can understand it as that physical activity that on the basis of certain exercises and / or materials carries out a specific working method together with movement patterns that can be extrapolated so that they have a place in our life daily .

What does Functional mean? According to Treccani, “Functional quality”. To be more pragmatic, we could define this concept as: which has practical use

Definizione allenamento funzionale

Isometric Contraction

Origin of Functional-Training

Born as a rehabilitation mechanism for people who have suffered some injuries and needed to be able to regain lost mobility and, of course, speed up the process or recovery phase, in order to continue to perform their duties in at home or at work.

Esercizi riabilitazione

Unilateral bench press on unstable surface (Fitball)

The type of exercises performed has the characteristic of being multi-articulation , compound exercises, using your own weight or handling free weights, and even on producing surfaces some instability

When does functional-training-start appearing?

Actually this training methodology has always existed, as we have already said. Therefore numerous personal trainers and other members of the fitness community have adopted it as a training concept.

Similarly, the recent boom of new sports and activities has also coincided, such as CrossFit (dating back to last “century”) together with a audience looking for new styles and training methods , compared to conventional methods, motivating that both sports centers and these same people are interested in introducing these exercises into the their sports planning or even to lay the foundations of their program.

Classi collettive

Group classes are another way to introduce Functional Training

What is Functional-Training based on?

Try to perform exercises which require activation of the stabilizing musculature to emphasize the muscles of the rectus abdominis, abductors and hip rotators and scapula stabilizers.

As for the inclination of the sector towards a sportier trend , we could contemplate that the above definition would have been made through movements harmonious compounds, with cadences and with a selection of workloads, which allow us to keep our pulse high, thus adding the cardiovascular work component.

Principi allenamento funzionale

session of functional training in which the use of different materials, stabilization work and the use of light loads are appreciated

Goals of Functional Training

The main task or goal you are looking for is to produce an adaptation to improve our daily habits through targeted exercises that resemble the gestures we are used to.

Achieve maximum deadlift strength is absolutely commendable, however, it would probably have little practical application for most of us, since we will never work with that amount of weight on any given day.

Stacco da terra unilaterale

The Unilateral Deadlifts can provide a stimulus to improve our balance and our stability and whose practical application is to be able to resolve any action-reaction, how to avoid a fall …

Going up and down the stairs carrying bags, lift not too heavy objects over your head, take the shopping items out of the bag and deposit arli on the roller … are actions that we usually perform and which can promote better postural behavior, also reducing the risk of injury another important point

Benefits Functional Training

Training type

Each functional training session is loaded with dynamic elements such as steps, rope jumping, sandbag throwing, unstable surfaces, bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, unilateral movements, extensions with ropes, abdomen exercises, use of elastics, resistance elements such as weighted vests …

All in an infinite number of combinations obviously adapted to the level of each person according to the criteria of the coach or monitor.

Zona libera

Most modern sports centers usually incorporate a reserved space, known as a free zone, for the development of the different elements that are taught in training.

Types of Functional Training

Within the range of variants that seek the premises that we have mentioned previously, we can find some types, being the most common:

  • Kettlebell training: The famous kettlebells are used, an excellent alternative to dumbbells. Most of the exercises that can be performed with these are transferable to Kettlebells, however, due to the shape and position of the handle, the weight is unbalanced and this causes us to have to balance with the strength of our stabilizing muscles.
  • Suspension Training or TRX: we can train the whole body, doing exercises that without the support of the bands would be very difficult to perform (squats with one leg …); uses the force of gravity and our body, as resistive elements, our center of gravity is continuously shifted and on which, once again, the stabilizing muscles will do their work.
  • Training with Ropes: ropes of several meters in length are used, with a diameter that varies over 6-8 cm, and the force of gravity and that generated by the wave of the rope itself are used, activating a large muscle mass, especially at the abdomen level to counter these forces
  • Circuit Training: This mode aims to combine a series of exercises (stations), with a specific duration and with reduced interruptions between them . Here the goal is to promote cardiovascular work together with the benefits of each of the exercises. Great positive effects are obtained at the metabolic level
  • Plyometric or shock training : perform jumps on crates or other high platforms, or other types of height (the height of the barbell with the discs …). It allows us to use maximum strength in each jump, so obviously, the intensity will be graduated according to the obstacle to jump and its height.

Here is a video of what rope training offers

Functional-Training Exercises

Movement through each plane of movement is essential to any training program.

We have evolved biologically to be able to move in various directions.

If we analyze how muscle anatomy works by looking at most athletic sports, you will see that we should challenge ourselves at all levels, not only to improve our discipline but to maintain proper integration and function of the main structures of the body. .

Functional training aims to avoid lack of movement and to require greater demand from different angles or planes.

These planes are:

  • Sagittal plane : it is the most common achieved in all training programs. They are movements that are performed back and forth. For example: squats, biceps curls, abdominal crunches, etc. It is usually a plane that is too much in demand and we should use it less.
  • Frontal plane : it is the plane of movement in which the exercises are performed from side to side. For example: lateral lunges, lateral shoulder raises, lateral trunk flexion, etc. This top offers great stability to the joints and structures of the main body.
  • Transversal: movements performed through the rotation of the body. For example: pitcher or hitter in baseball, wrestlers, abdomen rotations with cables or tires, etc … We usually have a great lack of training under this plane and at the same time we could say, given our anatomy, which is what governs more and in a better way the main functions of our body.

Esercizi allenamento funzionale

We can train a great variety of stimuli

Functional Training Material

The material aimed at functional training is very various

The most common are platforms that offer instability, such as bosu, fitball, jump rope, abdominal wheel, suspension material, tires and elastics, weights and dumbbells, including barbells and discs themselves , kettlebells, jackets with weights, crates for plyometric jumps.

Materiale allenamento funzionale

Equipment for Functional Training

Nutrition for Functional Training

The type of food and nutrition that we must maintain if we train with these exercises does not distance ourselves from those that should be considered healthy habits, so if you don’t have the knowledge, consult a professional (dietician-nutritionist).

Salto della corda

However, it can help use of moisturizing drinks before, during and after training

Who can perform a Functional Training?

Anyone can do it, children, young people, adults and even the elderly

Everyone has a place to do this kind of training.

Children must consider sport as a game, and the people who take care of them are responsible for this

In the case of the population at greatest risk (children and elderly) it will be absolutely essential that the responsible person has the necessary accreditation and supervises the correct execution of the exercises in every moment and also participate as a safety or help margin.

How to plan a functional-training routine? Functional Training?

As when we will carry out any other type of physical and / or sporting activity, we must keep in mind some aspects. Previously we will need to familiarize yourself with the routine or functional training circuit we are about to practice.

Since this activity will have a medium-high intensity, the duration will not be much prolonged

In general, each training session, depending on the experience of the people participating, can last about 15-30 minutes or even stretch more.

  • Warm up : Before we begin, let’s take some time to “warm up”, allowing the heart to start pumping more blood flow at the ends and prepare our fabrics. It starts off lightly, to gradually increase our pulse and adapt to a moderate intensity, but for a short time. Here we can make use of machines, such as the treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical, rowing machine or airdyne.
  • Return to Calm : exactly the opposite, we will gradually return to our initial state and cooperate to make it easier for the body to excrete metabolic waste substances produced during exercise.

The figure of the personal trainer takes on particular importance, as he will be the person responsible and in charge of ensuring that everything runs smoothly during the session.

Where to make a Functional-Training?

The training sessions can take place in all the places that are offered to us.

On the street, at home, in the countryside …

For example, exercises with your own body weight , such as doing push-ups in combination with jumps, are practicable in any environment where we can have a high platform or even a low-rise fence.

In other cases, if our sports center offers the relevant facilities, we will enjoy a space with a number the more proposals, the more amount of material we have and our minds are able to conceive or leave this task in the hands of a specialized person. ata.

If we have the opportunity, we should not waste training outdoors, as the sensations are totally different from those of being outdoors. inside an enclosure…

Functional-Training at-Home

To set up our “ functional training center “we will have to establish our budget, since from there we will be able to add more material, which means we also have more exercises or variations to play and have fun.

A my opinion, the following material would be a good starting point:

  • Jump Rope
  • Ab Wheel
  • Kettlebell

If there was room, I wouldn’t think twice about setting up a personal gym at home…

Context-Based Functionality

What is more functional, a one-sided bicep curl or deadlift? A priori, most people with minimal knowledge in the sports field would definitely bet on multi-joint exercises.

However, depending on the context, it can be different …

For example, let’s imagine this scene: a waiter who has to hold and carry a tray with considerable weight, a large number of times at the end of his daily work, would it no longer be feasible for him to increase the muscles involved…?

The Waiter’s Walk, functional exercise where…

5 examples of Functional-Training

These are rather short workouts, but very intense and, as mentioned, warming up is important. You can go up and down the stairs of the house for 5 minutes or jog outside, 3 minutes outside and 3 minutes back.

  • Workout 1

    Complete 10 laps in the shortest possible time:

  • Training 2

    Make as many laps as possible in 20 minutes of:

  • Training 3

    Complete 10 laps of:

    • 20 ″ Swing with Kettlebell
    • 10 ″ Recovery
    • 20 ″ Jump of the Rope
    • 10 ″ Retrieval
    • 20 ″ Pushups
    • 10 ″ Retrieval
    • 20 ″ Ab Wheel
    • 10 ″ Recovery
  • Workout 4

      1. Stretches on Unilateral Floor Bench with Kettlebell -> 3 sets of 15rips per side with 60s recovery

      2. Deadlift 1 Leg 1 Arm -> 3 sets of 15rips per side with 60s rest
      3. Unilateral row with Kettlebell -> 3 sets of 15rips per side with 60s rest

    Militar Press Unilateral with standing Kettlebell -> 3 sets of 15rips per side with 60s rest

    1. Accumulate 3 minutes of isometric plate -> every time we have to stop, we accumulate 5 burpees + 15x kettlebell swings which we then exchange!
  • Training 5

    Advanced Level

    Complete 5 laps of:

    • 10x HSPU (vertical push-ups)
    • 20x Squat 1 Leg alternating
    • 30x Kettlebell Swing on Head
    • 40x Hollow Rocks
    • 50x Double Jump Rope

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