Functional strength training has become a popular buzzword in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, it is also subject to wide interpretation.
At the extreme, some individuals believe that by mimicking the explosive, ballistic activities of high-level competitive athletes, they are training in a functional manner. All too often, however, such training programs greatly exceed the physiological capabilities of the average exerciser, which ultimately increases the possibility that an injury might occur.
Most would agree that there is nothing functional about sustaining an injury due to improper training.
In many respects, functional strength training should be thought of in terms of a movement continuum. As humans, we perform a wide range of movement activities, such as walking, jogging, running, sprinting, jumping, lifting, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, turning, standing, starting, stopping, climbing and lunging. All of these activities involve smooth, rhythmic motions in the three cardinal planes of movement-sagital, frontal and transverse.
Training to improve functional strength involves more than simply increasing the force-producing capability of a muscle or group of muscles. Rather, it requires training to enhance the coordinated working relationship between the nervous and muscular systems. (more…)