Sometimes I see an overused term and I just don’t get it. I mean – it’s not that I don’t understand that people are using certain words to fool others into buying a product, I just don’t understand the reasoning for choosing the specific words.
Case in point “functional training”. Training simply can not be functional if you don’t have a specified function. There’s nothing inherently functional about certain exercises. Biceps curls is by far the most functional exercise if the function you’re looking for is a set of biceps that look good.
To be fair to the functionalists though, let’s assume functional training means using an exercise selection that has the greatest amount of carry-over to any- and everything. Let me see… Oh yea, how about squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, pullups and about a handful other compound exercises? Sounds good right? Those are the exact exercises we use for good oldfashioned strength training (and no, “strength” doesn’t have to be defined the way “functionality” does because it has a specific non-contextual meaning).
Old wine, new bottles (add a touch of silly and a dash of idiocy for flavor)…
So what’s the deal here? Why has it become so popular?
The functional brigade has convinced people that it’s better to train to be good at something (undefined) than it is to train to look good naked or some other arbitrary goal.
Nothing will make you better at everyday life than reducing gravity by increasing strength. It’s that simple.
If you want to train in a way that has a function, play a sport. What you do in the weightroom is GPP unless you compete in powerlifting or weightlifting. No amounts of BOSU-balls og TRX’ will make you better prepared for anything than big numbers in the compound lifts. It’s a fancy wrapping that tries to sell you a bunch of weird exercises. Don’t buy into the hype. Do what works and what has worked for decades. Get your squat up, get your press up, get your deadlift up. Play your sport on the side. That’s functionality. The term “functional training” has nothing to do with training and everything to do with marketing.
If your personal trainer can’t teach you basic barbell moves and help you perfect them, then he/she is just a personal cheerleader.
One last thing – learn to fight. It might save you life and that’s gotta be the most functional thing ever, closely followed by reproduction. As my buddy Dan said – curls give big arms, women like big arms so for the reproduction “function” curls is the most functional exercise.
On that note, enjoy your weekend. <3