Functional Strength

Functional strength training has seen a surge in popularity over the last several years.  This is due in part to popular training programs and events including the following:

  • CrossFit
  • MMA/UFC Training
  • Strongman Training
  • Tough Mudder
  • Ninja Warrior Training
  • Spartan Race

Functional strength training is about developing power and overall wellness as opposed to focusing solely on physique or looks.  A large part of functional strength training includes compound movements such as traditional Olympic and power lifts (ie Squat, Clean, Dead-lift, Snatch).  However functional strength training can also include more unconventional training techniques as found with Strongman training.  Examples of this are tire flips, farmer’s walk among other full body engaging movements.

Regardless of your fitness goals, even if purely cosmetic, it is a good idea to incorporate some functional strength training.  The reason for this is that it supports muscle growth and shocks the body for better development.  A good example of how functional training can be incorporated would be to do physique focused weight training four days during the week and leave a weekend day open for a functional strength day.  This day cold be a full staged strongman/MMA clinic or could be participation in CrossFit class.

It however does not have to be this involved, a functional day could consist of something more basic but is focused on developing a portion of your fitness that your normal program is not.  It could be as simple as trail running or a yoga class.  The key is to mix up the workout and target areas that are more functional in every day life, such as cardiovascular health and flexibility.  A partial list of optional activities is as follows:

  • Hiking / Trail Running or Mountaineering / Canyoneering
  • Indoor / Outdoor Rock Climbing or Bouldering
  • Strongman Course or Comp
  • CrossFit class
  • Mixed Martial Arts Training
  • Ninja Warrior Competition or Class
  • Yoga (Bikram, Hot or Regular)
  • Simple Heavy Tire Flipping
  • Custom Activity