functional strength training

7 Functional Strength Training Workout: What You Should Know

Nowadays, more and more people choose functional strength training to improve their health or to better shape their bodies. Functional strength training also emphasizes realistic and overall physical benefits, so it is welcomed by the majority of fitness enthusiasts. Functional strength training helps you focus on improving your body’s strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, so what’s not to love about this workout?

Unlike other traditional weight training that targets a single muscle group, functional strength training focuses more on improving the body’s flexibility and stability, while also exercising muscles that are often overlooked or underutilized.

Relife Sports strength coach Juliette Wooten explains why functional strength training is essential for building body muscles or a comprehensive fitness program, and shares some of her favorite functional strength training exercises.

Compared with other training, good strength training is very important. Functional strength training involves heavy loads and high reps, making you feel stronger and healthier. Whether you’re an athlete or a fitness enthusiast, functional strength training is important for improving your body’s overall performance, regardless of your fitness level.

If you feel that functional strength training is difficult to do or adhere to, you can break it down. After breaking down functional strength training, you will find that it is both simple and extensive. The purpose of functional strength training is to target specific muscle groups to increase the body’s strength and endurance. It’s a great form of physical exercise for many trainers.

This article will focus on exploring different functional strength training, functional strength training vs traditional strength training, the benefits of functional strength training, and 7 functional fitness exercises that can help you.

let’s start!

What Is Functional Strength Training?

Functional strength training is a type of exercise that focuses on building strength to improve everyday activities and movements. Unlike traditional strength training, which often isolates individual muscle groups, functional strength training emphasizes exercises that mimic real-life movements and engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This approach helps to enhance balance, coordination, stability, and overall physical performance.

Functional strength training exercises often involve using equipment such as resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, and bodyweight exercises. Common movements include squats, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, and other dynamic, multi-joint exercises. The goal is to improve the body’s ability to perform activities of daily living, and sports-specific movements, and reduce the risk of injury by strengthening muscles in a way that supports natural movement patterns.

Overall, functional strength training aims to develop strength that is practical and applicable to real-world activities, rather than simply focusing on increasing muscle size or lifting heavy weights.

Functional vs. Traditional Strength Training

Functional strength training focuses more on imitating real-life movements (such as squats). For example, some people like the devil press, but unfortunately, this is not a commonly used movement in our daily lives!

Functional strength training and traditional strength training also overlap. Functional strength training improves the body’s strength because it may require challenging the body’s muscles against resistance. Likewise, traditional strength training can enhance fitness to an extent because the increased body strength and muscle mass facilitate daily activities. Functional strength training and traditional strength training have some key differences in their approaches and focus:

Movement Patterns
Functional strength training emphasizes movements that apply to daily activities and sports-specific motions, while traditional strength training often focuses on isolated muscle groups and specific exercises.

Muscle Engagement
Functional training engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously to improve coordination, balance, and stability, whereas traditional training may isolate individual muscles for hypertrophy or strength gains.

Equipment
Functional training often incorporates a variety of equipment such as resistance bands, medicine balls, barbell sets, and unstable surfaces to mimic real-life movements. Traditional strength training typically involves barbells, dumbbells, and weight machines.

Core Strength
Functional training strongly emphasizes core strength and stability, as it is essential for supporting functional movements and preventing injury. Traditional training may not always prioritize core strength in the same way.

Real-World Application
Functional strength training aims to improve performance in everyday activities and sports by enhancing overall movement patterns. Traditional strength training may be more focused on building muscle size, strength, or power for specific exercises or sports.

Benefits of Functional Strength Training

Functional strength training offers a range of benefits that can positively impact overall fitness and daily life. Some of these benefits include:

Improved Daily Functionality
Functional strength training focuses on movements that mimic everyday activities, such as lifting, squatting, pushing, and pulling. By training these movement patterns, individuals can improve their ability to perform daily tasks with greater ease and efficiency.

Enhanced Stability and Balance
Many functional exercises require the use of stabilizing muscles and engaging the core, leading to improved balance and stability. This can help reduce the risk of falls and related injuries, especially among older adults.

Injury Prevention
By strengthening multiple muscle groups and focusing on natural movement patterns, functional strength training can help reduce the risk of injury during physical activities and in daily life.

Increased Core Strength
Functional training places a strong emphasis on core strength and stability, which not only improves athletic performance but also helps maintain proper posture and reduce the risk of back pain.

Sports Performance
The multi-joint movements and functional nature of this training can enhance an individual’s performance in various sports and athletic activities by improving agility, power, and overall athleticism.

Efficient Workouts
Functional exercises often engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making workouts more time-efficient by targeting various areas of the body at once.

Versatility
Functional training can be adapted to accommodate individuals of different fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes, and can be tailored to specific goals and needs.

Top Functional Strength Training Moves to Try

When you perform strength training, you will find that many strength training exercises include traditional strength training and functional strength training movements. This way, you not only isolate muscles to improve strength, but you also improve endurance through functional strength exercises. If you haven’t tried functional strength training yet, here are some moves to help.

Squats

1. Keep your back straight, chest up, and shoulders back to maintain good posture.
2. Engage your core muscles to support your spine.
3. Initiate the movement by bending your knees and pushing your hips back as if you’re sitting back in a chair.
4. Lower your body by bending your knees and hips simultaneously.
5. Keep your weight on your heels and midfoot, not on your toes.
6. Aim to lower your hips until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, or lower if your mobility allows.

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Reverse Lunges

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your upper body straight with your shoulders back.
2. Take a step backward with your right foot, landing on the ball of your foot and allowing your heel to lift off the ground.
3. Lower your body by bending both knees simultaneously until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, or slightly lower if your mobility allows.
4. Keep your torso upright, chest up, and shoulders back throughout the movement.
5. Ensure that your front knee is directly above your ankle and not extending beyond your toes.

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Single-Leg Deadlifts

1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Shift your weight onto your left leg, slightly bending the knee.
3. Begin the movement by hinging at your hips, and pushing your right leg straight back behind you.
4. Simultaneously, lower your upper body towards the ground while keeping your back straight and your right leg in line with your torso.
5. Allow your arms to hang down naturally toward the floor.
6. Continue lowering until your torso and right leg are parallel to the ground or until you feel a stretch in your hamstring.
7. Keep your chest lifted and avoid rounding your back.

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Push-up

1. Begin in a prone position on the floor, facing down.
2. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your fingers pointing forward.
3. Extend your legs behind you, balancing on the balls of your feet.
4. Lower your body by bending your elbows and keeping them close to your sides.
5. Aim to lower yourself until your chest or chin lightly touches the floor, or as far as your strength allows without compromising your form.
6. Keep your body in a straight line without allowing your hips to sag or your buttocks to rise.

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Burpees

1. Keep your arms at your sides.
2. Lower your body into a squat position, placing your hands on the floor in front of you.
3. Jump your feet back so that you are in a push-up position.
4. Perform a push-up, lowering your chest to the floor and then pushing yourself back up.
5. Jump your feet back to the squat position.

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Step-ups

1. Stand in front of a sturdy bench, box, or step platform.
2. Keep your feet hip-width apart.
3. Engage your core muscles for stability.
4. Place your right foot onto the bench, ensuring your entire foot is secure on the surface.
5. Press through your right heel and step up onto the bench, straightening your right leg.
6. Drive your left knee up towards your chest as you lift your body onto the bench.
7. Keep your torso upright and avoid leaning forward.

Plank

1. Begin by getting into a push-up position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
2. Keep your feet together or hip-width apart, whichever is more comfortable for you.
3. Hold the position, ensuring your body remains in a straight line without sagging your hips or raising your buttocks.
4. Focus on bracing your core and maintaining a neutral spine throughout the exercise.
5. Keep your head in line with your spine, looking down at the floor to avoid straining your neck.

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Functional Strength Training with Relife Sports

Whether you are a professional athlete or a fitness enthusiast, you can incorporate functional strength training into your daily exercise plan and perform it 2-3 times per week. Strength training is also important for targeting specific muscle groups and building strength in the body, while functional strength training enhances the practical application of that strength in real-life situations.

So if you’re interested in functional strength training, try Coach Juliette Wooten’s Total Body Strength Training. She combines upper and lower body exercises to help your body get stronger. If you want to get stronger and perfect your physical form, start working out now.

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