The Monday Memo
August 14, 2017 PITT DPT STUDENTS
What is Functional Training?
Charlie Badawy, SPT, CSCS, USAW
There are so any answers to this question. Some people say kettlebell movements. Some say emphasize rotation and diagonals. Others are convinced you simply need to get stronger and “function” will improve. In reality, everyone is right and every is wrong.
Functional training is not a garbage term. It’s very real, but also very ambiguous. Functional training for a Strongman or Nordic Games competitor will look nothing like that of a ballerina or gymnast. The functional demands of one individual are wildly different than that of another, which is what should drive variation in our training and rehab approach.
I propose that this isn’t necessarily true for the general population. The average joe. Yes, we are all special snowflakes, but we operate very similarly when it really comes down to it. Sure, some of us may have some occupation-specific requirements that should guide the rehab and training approach. However, when it really comes down to it, there are three tasks we most of us must be able to do:
1. Get up off the ground
3. Pick up & manipulate objects
We need to be able to change position and rise from the floor in case we fall. Whether we’re teaching proper transfer mechanics or Turkish Get-ups, we’re accomplishing this goal. We already know the importance of restoring proper gait mechanics, but what about using loaded carries to strengthen those mechanics once in place or target individual weaknesses?
Lastly, life simply wouldn’t be any fun if you didn’t have the ability to manipulate and interact with your environment.
These are foundational abilities that humans should possess and there are so many different ways of training them! We should scale to the individual in front of us – Utilize progressions or regressions appropriate for their level of physical preparedness. At the end of the day, when we stop doing these things, we really stop living.