Definition of the word Functional:
1 – of or having a special activity, purpose or task.
2 – designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive.
A word that in the fitness industry people have taken to extremes.
My take on the word functional when in use with training.
ANY exercise that helps you achieve your goal or target.
This is a genuine conversation had on a functional training course between the course lecturer (who we’ll call Jeff) and a PT who was a bodybuilder (we’ll call him Arnie).
Jeff: Can anyone give me a functional exercise?
Arnie: A bicep curl.
Jeff: That’s wrong, but can you tell me why you chose that?
Arnie: It’s not wrong. As a male my purpose in life is to reproduce. I need to meet a female to do so. Females like big arms. Bicep curls give me big arms. In which case a bicep curl functional to my goal.
Jeff: (Stunned silence)
A beautiful moment watching someone who was teaching transverse deadlifts, cleans and snatches get slapped between the eyes.
There are a few guys in the industry who use functional very well. Guys who haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel or look down their noses at guys and girls who enjoy heavy lifting.
Look up Rannoch Donald (100 Rep Challenge) and Andy McKenzie (IronMac Fitness). Two fantastic minds who don’t make it difficult for people to understand or follow what the hell is going on!
Then we move onto the muppets. The main one being Naudi Aguilar. Apparently “functional” involves chucking a medicine ball off a trampoline while balancing on a bosu ball.
There is fuck all functional about that. In fact Australian coach Paul Carter hit the nail on the head when he said he’d maybe regret not going that way when he had to throw boulders at a snake from a moving canoe on the Amazon.
Naudi is also the guy who believes anyone who squats, deadlifts and presses are for uneducated Neanderthals.
Some of the shit this guy spouts is beyond mind bogglingly rubbish.
The kind of guy who you wouldn’t tire of throwing a medicine ball at from a bosu ball.
Wait a minute…… Maybe he did have a point. Pfffft……
What’s more functional than deadlifting, squatting and pressing?
Deadlift – How to pick things up and put things down safely.
Squat – How to sit down and stand up safely.
Press – How to lift things above your head safely.
There are few things in this industry that aren’t functional, just remember that the function relates to your goal.
The link attached is Rannoch’s article for Men’s Fitness on training only using an IKEA stool: