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What is functional training?

What is functional training? Also called training or functional work, functional training comes from the United States and is starting to find its place in many gyms. What does it consist of? Who is it for? What are its advantages? Here are some answers!

The principles of functional training

Functional training is based on two simple principles. The first is to constantly refer to the gestures of our daily lives. Without noticing, we work our muscles every day by lifting the shopping bags, vacuuming, climbing the stairs, getting up to get a backrest, etc. Functional work therefore aims to reproduce these different movements by optimizing them to avoid injuries and to develop a harmonious silhouette,and by making them more intense and more efficient.

The second principle is to work the muscle chains as a whole. Unlike conventional, so-called analytical strength training, which focuses on one or more muscles by isolating them, functional work takes into account the entire muscle chain and joints. The upper and lower body work at the same time and not in isolation. Forget the repetitions of lifting dumbbells or abdominals in favor of complete exercises involving the whole body!

What is functional training

How does a functional training session work?

Functional work is often done in small groups (such as crossfit for example), or even in duo with a sports coach. It can be done in the classroom in the form of workshops(circuit training type),at body weight (exercises without equipment)or with various accessories(elastic bands, gym ball, bosu, kettlebell, TRX straps,etc.), or outdoors using everyday objects: a bench, a tree trunk, a barrier ...

After an essential warm-up,a functional training session is divided into a series of short and more or less intense exercises – usually lasting from 20 seconds to 1 minute – and often fun. Without accessories, the training will consist for example of chaining a series of flexions(slit type)accompanied by arm movements, then dynamic sheathing exercises, and finally a complete movement such as burpees. 

The intensity of the exercises makes it possible to really work on the cardio aspect in parallel with muscle building. It also explains the relatively short duration of training, usually about thirty minutes, including warm-up. One of the objectives of functional work is also to be able to reproduce postures in your daily life and optimize your movements,such as taking a good position in front of your computer, lifting loads without injuring yourself or continuing to work your muscle chains during prolonged standing.

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