What the hell is functional training.

One of the most contentious questions amongst competing fitness tribes. But the hell is functional training?In short, functional training is any type of training that protects you against injury or improves the performance of a given physical task. They, I said it, and I will not take it back.If you can justify how an exercise reduces injury or improve performance,

it is functional. Balancing on a gym ball, whilst gyrating your wrist is not more functional than, then say, a bicep curl. It is the thought process that matters more than exercise. One is a circus s skill that does not translate to any other given task, while the other stabilizes the shoulder and can protect against shoulder injuries. But the guy in a headband, going animal crawls, calming this type of training is more “functional”. because it looks, on a superficial level “more functional” does not know what he is talking about. It is the ability to justify how an exercise transfers over to a given task, that defines it as functional. Balance on a gym ball is functional because…. the reason isn’t acceptable. 

Understanding The software.

The truly get your head around improving functionality. We must look beyond the surface and understand the operating system that is running in the back group. It might be the shiny new computer that gets all the eyeballs, but it’s the software or operating system running underneath that really lets you order a waffle making at 4 pm and play minesweeper in your pants that is the star of the show. When it comes to the software of human movement, we are referring to the nerve system, and how it wants to organize the body and your movement So what is the operating system for human functionality?

Let me introduce you to baseline operating keeping you from falling apart during your workouts.




In that order.

If any one of these is defiant, we have a gap in our functionally and a negative downstream effect which can hinder our performance and increase the risk of injury. Let’s unpack each of these types.

Mobility is not flexible.

God bless all you folk, who send 2 hours bending into a pretzel in your local yoga class full of farts. But this is not mobility.


Refers to the active range of motion of the joint. This means, what range of motion can you take your body part into, not what you can be pushed into. They’re a big difference between active vs passive mobility I can, on my own put-on hand above my head. I can have someone push me even further. This extra range I can be pushed into is the passive range.  Simple right.

The passive range is a functional no-man land. Here’s the thing yoga teachers and stretching enthusiastic do not want you to know. Being “flexible is the whole picture”.Think for it like pumping on the tires on your car, getting in it all clean and shiny, but having no suspension or engine inside. Mobility is the bassline compound but not the whole sandwich. Being about to stick your leg behind your head might get you those social media likes. But being about to stabilize the joint in that end range will protect you against injury 


Stability is the ability to resist force.

Right now, as I write this informative and hilarious blog, the small muscles in my shoulder are automatically managing the position of the joint. By switching on and off at breathtaking speed. I’m not telling them this, they just do it. Because it protects my joints. This automatic process is stable. Oh, and it doesn’t involve a Bosu ball. You see muscles are not dumb they sense information coming in a run software in the back group to manage your joint in space and thus protect against injury. Keep getting injured, you probably lack stability, or the automatic software isn’t running so well. Here’s something you need to know. When you feel “tightness” or a lack of mobility this is really and lack of stability in a given joint and the body response by inhibiting your movement, so you won’t get injured. That is right, your own body has put the child lock on because you keep dribbling and spiling your juice. This has to be the biggest misconception in fitness. Tightness is a protective mechanism when a person cannot stabilize a joint, the body response by restricting your range of motion. You do not need to stretch or stick lacrosse balls in a strange place or foam roll or get one of those message guns that looks like a repurposed sex toy. No, you need to address your lack of stability, so your body trusts you to move into further ranges of motion safely without damaging yourself. If you cannot do a walking lunge without wobbling all over the place, you lack stability.

Cannot hold a dumbbell overhead without your shoulder moving around like wind stock in the …………………………wind, you lack stability. You have no right trying to move heavyweight. 

Mobility and Stability are the pre-required skills you need before you start strength training. Think of it like 

It’s like learning to ride a bike with training wheels. Before you take those bad boys off. You need to spend some time learning and developing the skills of mobility and stability in a safe stable environment before being taken to the edges of mobility and stabilize capacity, with such exercises like deadlifts and squats. So starting with fixed machines in an externally stable environment might be a good idea while you work mobility and stability

Oh look, I just said machines are functional. Because of the context.  


Strength is the ability to express force.  Once you own mobility and stability,  you can now layer on strength. The ability to produces force or move heavy shit. As their say “You can’t shoot a cannon out of a canoe”  This where 95% of gym-goers go wrong. Not training the pre-required mobility and stability before embarking on a strength program, and this why injury often happened. So to you concluded functional is a continuum of mobility stability and strength it is not a type of exercise, rather a thought process. Understanding where you are on this continuum and filling in any functional deficit you have will bulletproof against injury and keep you in the gym for a long time, not just a good time.

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