Tuesday, 14 August 2018

See Ya Later, Functional Training! Let's Go Applicability!

While the hype seems to have decreased a little bit, at least in my tiny corner of the world, the term "functional training" is still thrown around as a hot-word. It seems like every fitness instructor and trainer is now specialized in it. (Is it still special when everyone is doing it?)

I've had my rant about how out-of-context the term "functional" has become in the past few years. If an individual is a long-distance road runner, do they need to be doing instability BOSU squats? Does a basketball player need to do handstand push ups? Does grandma require the ability to do 10 minutes of burpees?

This will help my golf swing!

As I went on about before, functional movement has been misconstrued, lately, as meaning any compound movement up to and including the most complex circus acrobatics you can think of. But if we're talking function, shouldn't we be thinking less about how many muscle groups we can hit in one exercise and more about the function that the training is intended for?

Enter: Applicable Exercise!

When clients discuss the thought of switching to more functional training, I jump in and suggest "applicable training" as an alternative. I can immediately see the gears and bells all lighting up in their heads. No longer are they imagining unnecessarily complicated balance exercises on unstable surfaces or handstands for shoulder stability. Instead, they now picture themselves doing exercise more closely replicating their desired activities, such as the sport they like to play, the hikes they like to go on, or the gardening that they love to do at home. Whatever the activity, there are specific movements, joint directions, and energy systems that accompany them that need to be considered.


This switch of focus bodes well not only for training in the gym, but also for rehab. As previously discussed, making rehab homework more specific to a person's lifestyle and activity is not only more enjoyable for the client, but will be much more successful!

For you in either the health or the fitness worlds, I challenge you to try and substitute "functional" for "applicable" when it comes up in conversation or at work. It's very interesting, the change in thought-process that this simple switch can trigger.


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