Functional Training

Functional training can improve how you perform every day activities. Ordinary tasks, such as lifting groceries into the car, carrying a child, rearranging furniture and lifting laundry baskets, are activities that require functional strength. The purpose of functional strength training is to increase the strength and endurance of muscles involved in ordinary activities. Functional training can help you recover from an injury, increase range of motion or improve your overall strength, agility and balance. Functional training is especially effective to rehabilitate joints and muscles following injury or surgery. 
Photo Credit: Slyngebehandling CC-BY-SA-3.0 2007
Functional training involves repeating the same movement to improve your performance of that movement. For example, a worker who lifts boxes all day can benefit from functional training exercises that improve the strength of the arms for lifting and the legs for supporting extra weight. Lifting free weights helps strengthen the upper body and legs for more efficient lifting with reduced risk of injury. A professional basketball player can benefit from jumping, running and stretching exercises to improve his or her performance on the court. Golfers can benefit from functional training that strengthens the arms, upper body and improves range of motion in the arms and shoulders. Function exercises can be tailored to meet a specific need by working the major muscle groups involved in performing a task. A whole body approach to functional training is better than working isolated muscles if you want to improve your overall strength and endurance. 
Exercises that use your own body weight with normal movements are a good way to begin functional strength training. Pulling, pushing, sitting and standing up from a seated position are activities that most people perform many times throughout the day. Push-ups, pull-ups and squats involve a wide range of muscles and muscle groups and can increase your strength and endurance for most daily activities. A fitness trainer can help you develop a functional exercise program tailored to your specific needs. 

For more information about functional strength training, see:

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