Functional Training: Benefits & Exercises

Functional training is something that’s becoming more and more commonplace in gyms all over the world. Essentially, it’s a way to improve the way you move when it comes to everyday tasks.

What is Functional Training?

Functional training is a broad term and quite difficult to define but in essence, it’s all about improving the way that you move relative to the tasks that you complete in your sports and daily life. There are a number of ‘functional’ movements that are applicable to just about everyone such as general squatting, hinging and rotational movements.

Then, there are more specific functional tasks relative to your individual tasks/sport, so the functional training that a slalom skier completes would be very different to that of a marathon runner as the movement demands are not the same.

Functional training doesn’t have to be done with any specific pieces of equipment, it’s just all about the way that you move and load your body, but we do have some great pieces of kit that help provide the creative exercises to challenge those functional patterns too – so give them a try.

Which Functional Training Exercises can you try?

There are a whole host of functional training exercises that just about anyone can do, either at home or at the gym. Keep reading to find out more about the most popular and common functional training exercises.

Squats

One of the best resistance exercises that you can do, full stop. They recruit calf, thigh and your hip muscles, as well as your upper body and are a much more functional option than machine-based leg exercises. It’s a movement almost all of us use used every day when sitting, standing or picking items off the ground. There are lots of varieties to choose from to keep things varied and find the right version that works for you. A simple bodyweight squat is a great place to start.

Lunges

These recruit similar muscles to a squat but in a split stance and also provide more functional leg-based exercise than if you’re using a resistance machine. This helps to replicate functional tasks of climbing stairs, walking, running and bending down. Again, there are a huge number of options to choose from, but a simple forward step lunge is a great place to start.

Push Ups

A great simple upper body exercise that works on your push strength and challenges your core stability. Full push ups can be a little challenging to start with, but leaning against a wall instead of the floor, or doing floor push ups from your knees is an easier starting point.

Suspension Training

Suspension trainers help add a different dimension to using your bodyweight for functional training including emphasising rotational movement control. Follow this link to find out more about some functional suspension training exercises.

ViPR Training

These funky-looking weighted tubes help add varied load to your functional movement patterns. Check out some of the different ways you can use to challenge yourself with the ViPR right here.

BOSU Balance Training

Using a BOSU to perform functional training adds another dimension to your training regimen. The instability of the BOSU platform means you have to work your core hard to stay balanced while performing your functional training movements. Discover more about the functional training exercises you can do on a BOSU balance trainer right here.

Kettle Bell Training

Kettle bells are a great tool to help with your functional training. They’re easy to manipulate, meaning you can add a greater degree of difficulty to any functional training you may be doing. Follow this link to find out more about kettle bell functional exercises.

Medicine Ball Training

Medicine balls are a common site in just about all of our gyms and they’re a fantastic tool to help improve your strength, co-ordination and performance. Discover how medicine balls can help with your functional training here.

Slam Ball Training

Slam balls are rubber-coated balls that contain a mass inside them to stop them from bouncing. They’re often used to help improve muscle endurance, cardiovascular endurance, as well as explosive power. There are a number of ways these can be used as port of your functional training regime, discover a few slam ball exercises right here.

So next time you’re at the gym, or working out at home, why not try giving some functional training a go?