“Functional Training”

By Jim Bryan 10-12-11


Recently our area has been overtaken with the “Functional Training Craze.” CrossFit, Boot Camp Training, and Training with implements other than traditional weight training (free weights, and machines) can be a good thing but does come with a higher rate of injury due to the nature of this training. None of it is new and none of it is more “Scientific” than traditional Training. Basic Traditional Weight Training actually has more science backing it since it has been going on for years. The fact that you strengthen and condition your muscles makes you more functional than you were and no amount of flipping tires,  using kettle Bells, or beating tires with a sledge makes you more “Functional.” How you choose to train is up to you. Most methods work but some are safer than others. Being involved in “Jack of all trades, & master of none training” comes with a risk/reward disclaimer…..or should.


The statement that free weights make you more “Functional” than using machines is another buzzword/falsehood. Let’s face the facts: Trainers have to come up with something that sets them apart or makes them appear to be more informed/ scientific/ in the know. Truth is, its just smokescreen packaging. You can get a good workout using anything mentioned thus far. The smart thing would be to use the safer alternatives, with an occasional look at different methods.


The newer gyms are popular because of the group training but usually offer less equipment (chin up bars, tires, chains, TRX or rings, Sledge Hammers, and a few weight sets, being the staple) These gyms are easy to set up but do require a higher Certification fee for the instructor/trainer. Face it, they are money makers for the “Owners of the Brand.” These gyms can come and go quickly but in fairness I have seen some really good ones, and I do this type of training myself at times.  I was doing it years before it became a “Brand.” Having been involved in training for over 50 years I have seen many things come and go and come back again.

If you like that kind of training, go for it. It can be fun. It’s not better, just different. In order to be successful you have to enjoy what ever training you decide to do and be consistent with it. Bottom line:  Your training shouldn’t hurt you, and you should look forward to it, not be intimidated by it. Don’t fall for the hype. “A fool and his money are soon to part.”

It looks like fun and can be. Remember the “Aerobics Craze” of a few years ago? Remember how they had to come up with “Low Impact Aerobics?” Well folks, this newer version called “Functional Training” is high impact. Know that before you get involved and make the informed decisions to keep it safe for you.


I think I’ll start a new Fitness Trend. It’s going to consist of Mowing, raking, clipping, chopping, pulling, hauling, and digging. I’ll call it “Yard Fit.” I can get my yard done and make money too! Stay informed about training , and don’t fall for gimmicks.


 TAKU’ Note: Thanks to Jim Bryan for this weeks awesome article.

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