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What Is Functional Training?

picture of multiple athletes doing various weight exercises

“This is a functional exercise.”……“This is functional training.”  

How many times have you heard this? Have you ever wondered what is meant by “functional”? What does “functional” even mean for you?    

There is not a single exercise that is universally functional for every person.

A back squat is functional for a powerlifter because he/she performs this activity as part of his/her sport. This same activity is not as functional for a runner due to the different demands of the sport.  

Your training should be functional for YOU.  

This is something that is paramount in the rehab process. Dr. Immermann and I keep this in mind with every physical therapy or training client that we work with.  

Let’s take our previous example of a powerlifter versus a runner. If each person is experiencing knee pain, then the goals of the rehab process will be different. The powerlifter needs to be able to squat and deadlift without pain, while the runner needs to be able to perform single leg activities and run without pain.  

Regardless of the differing goals, each person must learn to perform activities to keep themselves healthy throughout their training careers and life.

Therefore, the question you must ask yourself is…what is functional for you?

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