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Functional Training: Why It’s Important

by Courtney on March 9, 2012

I didn’t get a chance to talk about this earlier, but it definitely deserves a little extra attention, so I’m gonna just go ahead and share it with you guys now, mmkay?

This morning, I pretty much got my boo-tay handed to me on a silver platter.

Yes, yes I did. Today was Day 5 of Tina’s Bootcamp and ohh boy was it a doozy! On the agenda for today:

  • 20 minutes of HIIT (I alternated 1 minute each of 7.5mph & 4.5mph on the treadmill)
  • “Workout C” – a functional and core workout.

Today’s workout was, by far, the most challenging of them yet. While I can’t get into the specifics of the actual circuit moves that were in the workout, I will say that there was a whole lotta movement, and a whole lotta sweat happening. I sorta felt like I should have had a drill sergeant standing above me with a whistle and stopwatch.


Okay, maybe that’s a little drastic. But even still, after three rounds of that circuit, I was spent. Whew!

So far, Tina has done a fantastic job of putting together this bootcamp program (not that I’m surprised). For phase one, the focus has been on stabilization and functional training, both of which are extremely important components to beginning a fitness routine.

Functional Training – Why It’s Important

Functional training is something that, in my opinion, everyone should be incorporating into their fitness routine. In essence, it is a very effective type of exercise that involves training the body to be capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions. You train several muscle groups at once, which can improve balance, core stabilization, strength, and flexibility.

Functional training is different from using most machines at the gym; these are typically isolating specific muscle groups (think seated row machine, etc.), but they’re not teaching the muscle groups being isolating to work together.

One thing that was highly stressed in my NASM training is the goal of getting the entire kinetic chain (nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems) in alignment. When you can teach everything to work together properly, the body is much better able to perform.

What Are Some Examples of Functional Exercises?

Functional training can incorporate both bodyweight exercises and those with weights; however, for someone just starting off, sticking with bodyweight exercises is your best bet. Functional training is a great way to incorporate compound exercises, because you’re incorporating several muscle groups at once.

There really are a TON of exercises, but here are some basics:

functional training
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Do you incorporate functional training into your workout routine??


And, of course, I can’t go for this afternoon without announcing the lucky winner of the Elaine’s Toffee Company Giveaway: Lucky Entry #28


Congratulations, Anna! Please email me at sweettoothcourtney[@]gmail[.]com so we can get you set up with your goodies!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caroline @ After Dinner Dance March 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Tina’s workouts are definitely giving me a run for my money! Makes me feel better knowing you think they’re hard too :)
Caroline @ After Dinner Dance recently posted..Energizing Avocado Pasta


2 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers March 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I really like adding in functional exercises. I do most of mine with resistance bands or body weight. Happy Friday!
Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers recently posted..Girl on Fire


3 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers March 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Great read! I love strength training over cardio. Though I know I need cardio, because what good is muscles if you can’t show them off hidden behind fat. I would love to do a bootcamp, but there are none near me. :( Thanks for the great blog post!
Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers recently posted..Orange Brussels Sprouts


4 Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! March 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

So interesting to hear your thoughts on functional training because that is what my trainer really advocates and what our program is and i had never really even heard that terminology until I was looking into his training program. When I went to his website that is what his mission statement and description talk about “the importance of functional tarining”
At first (before I started my training) i didnt really understand what he meant by that and just sort of went with the flow until we finally talked about it in depth and it automatically made so much sense!
Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! recently posted..Randoms & Kona Chameleon


5 Jess March 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I’m a HUGE fan of functional training – of teaching your body to do REAL LIFE moves that you’ll use every single day. I love bodyweight-only stuff, which is often a big piece of functional training so I’d be all over a workout like the one you describe from Tina’s boot camp session, so cool!
Jess recently posted..Foodie Friday – some simple faves


6 Kristen @ notsodomesticated March 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I love all of the bodyweight exercises … especially because you can do all of them, even without a gym membership! :)
Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..My butt-kicking workout + Whatcha Reading


7 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life March 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

When I was a gymnast, I was definitely the strongest I have ever been! It sounds to me like gymnastics uses a lot of functional training, since you are constantly using your own body weight as resistance instead of weights or machines. Holding your own body weight can be harder than even using hand weights, etc. super tough!
Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life recently posted..Sweaty Bands


8 Bonnie March 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Just wrote a post on the benefits of functional training this week too! Loved your thoughts as well. Glad you’re enjoying Tina’s bootcamp; makes me wonder if I should have joined! ;)
Bonnie recently posted..Out of Your Comfort Zone


9 Carol @ Lucky Zucca March 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Love it!! I’ve been reading up on functional training and definitely need to incorporate it more into my workouts. I’m hoping to do some extra this weekend! My schedule for bootcamp has been a little off, so I haven’t done today’s workout yet. I can’t wait! Everyone says its a doozy!
Carol @ Lucky Zucca recently posted..Homemade BBQ Tofu Flatbread


10 Khushboo March 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I just put together an at-home circuit workout and tried to only incorporate functional moves- so much more efficient than isolated exercises!
Khushboo recently posted..Now you know my ABC’s…


11 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries March 9, 2012 at 3:17 pm

i absolutely love functional training. it’s one of my favorite ways to workout. functional training challenges my body and muscles unlike any other type of workout. i also love the fact that you can hit two birds with one stone when doing functional training!
Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..Just Breathe


12 Erin March 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Functional training definitely appeals to me. It was one of the aspects I liked best about CrossFit when I was doing that. Understanding why doing a certain move would help me in my regular life just made so much more sense than doing endless reps on a machine!
Erin recently posted..Running Results


13 Michelle@Peachy Palate March 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

seriously loving all the fitness posts of late on the blog! I was stuck in a serious pilates rut but I’ve been back on the weights the last two weeks, your post inspired me! I love functional exercises, especially incorporating weights. So many different exercises I want to try but it’s like a pick and mix trying to decide what to do so I love the circuit and superset workouts you’ve posted, keep em coming lady! :)
Michelle@Peachy Palate recently posted..Feeling the Burn!


14 Madeline (Food, Fitness, & Family) March 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Awesome awesome post! And Workout C was definitely intense … my booty is done! :)


15 Carrie @ MyHealthyAddictions March 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I always say that you should be able to lift your weight in pullups, dips, squats and bench. I can do all but bench! Woo Hoo
Carrie @ MyHealthyAddictions recently posted..Gym Etiquette


16 Yellow Haired Girl March 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I’ve been really wanting to pick up resistance bands lately … they’d be a welcome addition, not to mention all the functional training I could do too :)
Yellow Haired Girl recently posted..The “No Plans” Plans


17 Jodi March 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I’m a HUGE fan of pushups, even though I feel like they always kill me and I will never be able to do 50 in a row!
Jodi recently posted..Fun in the CIty pt. 2


18 Stellina March 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I try to incorporate functional training, but it doesn’t always happen! I need to work on that!
Stellina recently posted..What the YUCK!


19 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy March 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I just finished level 3 of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred, and that DVD is full of compound exercises. She makes me sweat ( a lot) every time!
Emily @ Perfection Isn’t Happy recently posted..Five Things Friday


20 Ashlee @ A Step in the Right Direction March 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Courtney did you see that Emerald nuts are on sale next week at Price Chopper? I thought of you when I saw the Buy One Get One ad.
Ashlee @ A Step in the Right Direction recently posted..A Little of This and a Little of That


21 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness March 9, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Man! I never win anything. Dang! Thanks for the functional training break down. Woot woot!
Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted..Coconut Oil: Whole Body Health


22 Michelle (Better with Berries) March 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Love those functional training moves, especially because you can do them without a gym!
Michelle (Better with Berries) recently posted..Race Series Part 4: My First Full Marathon!


23 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] March 12, 2012 at 2:34 am

great post! i’ve been incorporating more functional fitness into my gym routines. this inspired me to keep it up!!
Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] recently posted..don’t lose hope.


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