Functional training is a special kind of training defined by training the body to build up strength and improve performance in the daily activities. The notion of functional training became popular in a last couple of years and many people interpreted it in many different ways. This type of training was first used for rehabilitation, to prepare the patients to continue autonomously with their normal daily routine. However, even the fitness industry has seen a great transition towards the functional training. Many of the fitness experts define functional training as mimicking activities or certain skills. For them, functional training is the most effective way to train certain discipline, build up strength and gradually progress in performance, regardless of the goal.
Examples of functional training
Let us get back to the roots of functional training and examine the ways by which physical therapists utilize this type of exercise. Functional training is especially designed to help the patients return to their normal life. For example, if a mother of small children suffers from an injury and uses functional training therapy to recover, her training will involve training endurance and moderate weight lifting to prepare the body to cope with everyday activities. In the same manner, if a patient is an athlete, the functional training will involve building up strength or endurance, depending on the type of sport he or she is normally engaged in. However, functional training can also have some hazardous consequences when people mimic high-level competitive athletes without guided supervision. Some of the exercises of this kind can drastically exceed fitness capabilities of the exerciser and lead to the injury. This would be a classic example of an improper training.
Benefits of functional training
One of the greatest benefits of functional training is that it develops improved muscular balance and builds up stability of the joints. Therefore, functional training helps to recover faster from the injury, but it also prevents future injuries from happening. Functional training has certain benefits over the classical machines used in patient’s recovery. While the machines restrict actions to a single plane of motion, functional training embraces the diversity of movement, engaging many of the muscles.
Athletes can benefit from functional training since it targets more than one body part contributing to more efficient and safer performance in the real sports activity. Athletes will certainly improve their balance and the range of motion while building up endurance and their inner strength. Athletes can also use stability balls, resistance bands or begin training on the unstable surface, to experience the benefits of functional training methods.