What do you think about when you think about strength training? I’m sure all of us have our own thoughts and opinions on what strength training is. Some popular examples of strength training are bodybuilding, cross-fit, powerlifting, and olympic weightlifting, to name a few. To be clear and to avoid confusion, lets define what strength training is. Strength training is a type of physical activity, which uses resistance, either through an external source (dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, etc), or through bodyweight, which uses muscular contractions, which in turn builds strength, reduces injury potential, increases muscle size, bone density, and endurance.

Although, the examples I mentioned above are all types of strength training, they are, however, finite and one dimensional. Bodybuilding’s goal is to build muscle and symmetry for aesthetic purposes. Powerlifting’s goal is to be able to lift the heaviest load that you can, in one repetition, for the bench press, back squat, and deadlift. Furthermore, olympic weightlifting is a sport in which the athlete attempts to lift the maximum weight he or she can lift in the barbell snatch and the barbell clean and jerk.

However, other sports such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer, require us to have strength and skill to handle multiple demands on undefined terms. They are not finite and one dimensional.

So, with that in mind, to be able to meet the multiple demands we encounter on undefined terms, the type of training we should be doing, should be the type of training that will prepare us the way we actually perform or move in real life. Here at Focus Athletics, the type of training methodology that we incorporate is Functional Training.

Functional Training is a sport or client specific prescription of progressive, integrated multi-joint, multi-planar, proprioceptively enriched movements at various loads and speeds. What this means is preparing like you perform, in your sport or in real-life.

As with any strength training program, Functional Training programs have 3 primary goals:

  1. Training should reduce injury potential
  2. Training should improve performance
  3. Training should produce results

In Functional Training, instead of classifying exercises based on muscle groups (i.e. chest day, leg day, back day, etc.), we instead classify exercises based on movement patterns. We can classify exercises as upper body pushing exercises (push-ups, bench presses, overhead presses), and upper body pulling exercises (chin-ups, rows, pulldowns). On the other hand, for the lower body, we can classify them as either lower body pushing exercises (squats, lunges), and lower body pulling exercises (deadlifts, leg curls, hip bridges). In addition, Functional Training can also be thought of as movement based training. We train basic movement patterns, as mentioned above. We chose exercises that are multi-joint and multi-planar, and we train with a purpose, which means we do strength training to support movement. These are just some examples of what Functional Training is. It is honestly more complicated than this, and a lot of variables and considerations should be accounted for because each person have different wants and needs, and have different abilities and limitations. If you want to learn more, or you want to experience Functional Training, you can drop by Focus Athletics or you can book your free-trial with one of our Performance Coaches.  

“If we train muscles we will forget movements, but if we train movements we will never forget muscles.”