Exactly What The Buzz Behind Functional Training Is All About


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Functional training is all about training movements, not muscles, so it includes exercises like squats, lunges and pushups. These all require multiple joints and muscles to work together. WORKING IN ALL THREE PLANES OF MOVEMENT. Functional training workouts are designed to unify the muscle groups of the body and to help make you feel and perform better in all aspects of life.

For most people, the practical application of functional training is to make daily activities easier to perform, says Dan Henderson, cofounder of the Functional Training Institute in Australia. Yes, but when it comes to improving your fitness, functional training is more nuanced. “Ideally, functional training conditions you to perform the actions of daily life [more effectively and efficiently],” says Jim DiGregorio, an exercise physiologist based in Norwood, N.J. For a more detailed explanation of functional training, read on. The foundation of training and life. Functional training is all about core!

Your abdominals, hips and scapulars are the muscle groups that need to be strengthened to maintain stability. So many functional exercises incorporate your core muscles even if the focus is on another part of your body. Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.

The top goal of functional movement training is to lower the chance of injury. Some of the top risks of injury for those starting a fitness regimen include: core weakness, muscle imbalances, musculoskeletal abnormalities, and poor neuromuscular control. Functional training addresses all of those issues. For ‘functional training’ and ‘functional exercise’ to have a practical and useful meaning for personal trainers they must have a client centric element and be oriented on meeting the needs and wants of every individual client.

This means that ‘functional’ will change from client to client. Functional training helps provide you with the strength, stability, and mobility you need to thrive in your life and sports. You use basic functional movement patterns like pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, rotating, carrying, and gait patterns—walking and running—every day. Functional training utilizes exercises that improve your.

Being able to hoist your bodyweight up to a bar is an essential component of everyday strength, and a functional, powerful body begins with a back primed with pull-up training. To Do: Take a wide overhand grip on a pull-up bar and hang freely with your arms fully extended and your ankles crossed behind you. Draw your shoulder blades in toward one another, then drive your elbows down.

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It generates a sense that more is known about training planning than is actually the case; in short, that periodization principles have been empirically validated.

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from Performance Psychology E-Book: A Practitioner’s Guide
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The concept of functional training is not new, nor is it limited to function related to sports.

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from Physical Rehabilitation of the Injured Athlete E-Book
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Functional training also has roots in the area of sport-specific training.

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I think it’s just as important to understand the goals of training, rather than just the methods.

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from The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle
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The kind of training we are talking about in this book is training designed for jobs at work.

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from Job and Work Analysis: Methods, Research, and Applications for Human Resource Management
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The systematic training approach, ie training specifically designed, planned, implemented and evaluated to meet defined needs, is traditionally what professional trainers are expected to do, so they do it.

“Armstrong's Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice” by Michael Armstrong
from Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice
by Michael Armstrong
Kogan Page, 2012

The PIE scaffolding and these basic questions are then used to illustrate the most practical part of the book, namely, chapters on training facts and concepts; training functional multistep routines; training the use of external cognitive aids; training the use of metacognitive strategies; and social skills training.

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from Optimizing Cognitive Rehabilitation: Effective Instructional Methods
by McKay Moore Sohlberg, Lyn S. Turkstra, Barbara A. Wilson
Guilford Publications, 2011

Over time, similar or more advanced exercises and skills can be learned more efficiently with less instructional feedback because participants can build on pathways that exist from prior training.

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from Essentials of Youth Fitness
by Avery D. Faigenbaum, Rhodri S. Lloyd, et. al.
Human Kinetics, 2019

Effective training requires a systematic approach to training needs assessment, which determines not only who to train but also what to train (McGhee & Thayer 1961).

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from Online and Distance Learning: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
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It sequences the training components into weeks, days, and sessions and is situation specific depending on priorities and the time available to bring about the required training and competition improvements.

“Long-Term Athlete Development” by Istvan Balyi, Richard Way, Colin Higgs
from Long-Term Athlete Development
by Istvan Balyi, Richard Way, Colin Higgs
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2013

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • Jeff, what are your thoughts about the fitness machine, Motion Cage Hoist, for functional training? The gym I go to bought it not knowing it was for “functional training.” That being said, the two sections with weight stacks says it goes up to 195 lbs each. I am female, 5ft, 110 lbs and at 6/8 rep max for lat pull downs and bicep curls on a machine I’m at 80 lbs for both. On this machine, I can do the entire stack and still get nothing out of it because it’s on 5 pulleys. The company came out after numerous complaints that it wasn’t “working properly” and they say it will never work to pull and push weight because it’s intended for functional training. In this context, what does that even mean? Please put the science into this explanation to help me understand how a weight stack of 195 lbs that is not pulling even close to this weight is defined as “functional training”.

  • What kind of functional training would you suggest for a truck driver? Specifically not a seat warmer, a local truck driver who more or less does “warehouse” type labor with a hand truck.

  • For me, my fuctional workout is to do calisthenics but movements cooridnating with putting fatigue in my muscles.
    muscle stressing workout (for me) has
    planks (1min)
    dips hold (1min)
    horse stance (back straight, legs at a 90-120 degree; hold 1min)
    simply its like doing Tai chi/karate workout in my regemin

    I would also work on my warm up of doing stretches first thing in the morning then running. I would do a boxing/kick boxing workout but in my body type doing those explosive movments aren’t my style. So I’m big even if I don’t have the air to do it, I know I have to be stationed. I would like to do a jiu jitsu with a parkour incoorporated workout. Putting my muscles to stress then shedding off a fat layer is my goal for this month.

  • “It’s over, Jesse! I have the high ground!”
    “You underestimate my lower body power!”
    “Don’t try it!”

    “I HATE YOU!”
    “You my fitness igor, Jesse. I loved you.”

  • I work for schwans selling their food from their delivery truck, and with all of the sitting I spend a lot of time working my posterior chain and my hip flexors. HalleluYah for Jeff’s channel, I’ve learned a lot over the years and don’t have postural issues, yet still some compensation in my leg use. For work, I have four main exercises I focus on, work specific. I do steps ups, pull ups, deadlifts and farmers carries. The rest of my “plan” are accessories for those four. Jeff is brilliant and everyone should listen. Have a goal, make a plan, and give it your best

  • Functional patterns is the standard thank you so much! 7+ years of pain 24/7 L4 L5 and I’m only 32 and finally I found you, now my favorite thing to do is run as fast as I can, u don’t know what u got tell it’s gone. I feel like I’m 14 years old agian I haven’t been able to throw a ball since I was a teenager due to shoulder injurys now i have my football in my truck everywhere I go ready for a game. Thanks so much, great video!

  • Jesse may be creepy, but we still love him:) even though he stares at the camera with empty hollow eyes sometimes….we still love him.

  • for past one year I have always done my workouts super-setting opposite muscle groups.
    for example, I always do chest presses followed by a sort of rows. biceps and triceps, shoulder and lats (or also chest and lats), face pull and straight lat pull down. actually I never do just one exercise. even if I do a heavy compound move like dead-lift or squat, I complete that with an ab workout, dips or push-ups. and this way I almost perform between 30 to 40 sets in a training session under an hour with maximal effort and efficiency. well I like it this way and I like it when I get heart rate goes up. so I do less cardio, even if I do it’ll be HIIT in form of stair climbing and less than 10 minutes:) My resting heartbeat is less than 50, sometimes 45, I am not that muscular but people definitely notice that I do workout and they point that out!
    so I guess super-setting opposite muscle groups is one of the best ways that make sure you train all your muscles and balance everything out and spend less time in the gym and get better cardio benefit.

  • hey Jeff you are the chemist of fitness I am a new personal trainer that offers general fitness kickboxing, muay thai and self defense you are one of my main motivators and one day I hope to be as good as you are I really enjoyed this video and the zombie one you did keep up the good work bro

  • This is why I love Jeff and Jesse. Athlean X is one of the most informative and honest fitness channels to date and probably will be for a long time. And the fact that they add some humor to some of their videos is just plain awesome.

  • About the Core…I see you read Myers book and I trained at the same school of structural integration he did. I can tell you that there is some disagreement even in those circles about the word. I prefer to think of it as the visceral space, apart from the muscles, bones and fascia, but shaped by them. This puts the idea even further out of the mainstream and prone to misuderstanding as mysticism or nonsense, but it is as real as anything.