Functional Training Why it's important

This is not a new concept in fact it has been around since the formation of Ancient Greece, it likely even predates that.

During ancient time the world was in a state of chaos, warlords were fighting to claim territory and establish their dominance. To ensure success they would need elite soldiers, warriors with exceptional strength, agility and speed.

They needed to have these attributes so that they could run long distances into and away from battle, throw spears and fight hand to hand. If a soldier lacked in these qualities , they would often not survive particularly long on the battlefield. This resulted in the creation of endurance events and would later be used to form the first Olympic Games.

Olympians of old were mostly known for their notoriety in battle, this being what earned them the right to compete in the games. The ancient olympics consisted of the following sports:

  • Boxing
  • Chariot racing
  • Pankration (think ancient UFC)
  • Pentathlon (discus, javelin, jumping, running & wrestling)

As you can see each event was aimed at improving a warriors physical attributes, making them a better soldier. If the sport did not make the athlete better at running, throwing etc etc. They weren’t included in the games.

Athletes and functional training.

Functional training isn't solely for athletes, don't let the heading fool you. In simplest terms it is a form of training utilising multiple joints across various planes of movement. As such it assists with strength and endurance for everyday activities.

From upright rows to lifting the contents of grocery shopping onto a kitchen counter. This is fundamentally what functional training is.

Thinking about it logically your performance is based on your capability to complete the task undertaken. Tasks occur in every facet of our lives whether it is grocery shopping, work or sport. If the objective you set out to complete is within your level of ability it can be achieved, this is made easier the better you are at the given task.

To expand upon this if you were able to complete a 1 RM(Rep Max) bicep curl of 65kg and your daily chores meant you needed to complete a number of 65kg lifts you might be able to do it, however, the hazard of you failing increases as does the risk of injury since every lift brings you closer to the edge of your limitations.

Types of strength

Strength can be categorised as follows:

  • Maximal strength
  • Speed-strength
  • Strength endurance

Maximal strength can be classified as the muscles ability to generate maximal force at all stages of contraction.

Speed strength is explained as the muscles ability to create maximal force at the start of a contraction (especially important for boxers). Once movement has been initiated and maximal force is continuing to be generated against a greater external resistance this is classed as explosive strength (particularly important for wrestling).

Strength endurance is determined by the neuromuscular system and its ability to produce sustained contractions of steady force out-turn over longer durations.

Created By
Andrew Stevens


Boxing Photos by Mark Shayler & Tony Jarvis Tough Mudder photo by Tough Mudder London to Southend photo by Ann Stevens Gym photos by Sarah Guest Appearing in Gym photos: David Davies & Steve Tyjas

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