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Put the Function Back in Fitness

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Put the Function Back in Fitness

You may not be aware of just how many movement patterns your body performs in a single day. From squatting down to pick something up off the ground and twisting your torso to get out of the car to pushing doors open, our bodies need the strength and proper range of motion to perform daily activities. Functional training exercises are full-body movements on multiple planes of motion that mimic these activities in daily life.  

American College of Sports Medicine defines functional training as using strength training to improve one’s balance, coordination, force and endurance in order to enhance their ability to perform daily living activities. The purpose of functional fitness is to help the body build strength in various ranges of motion so you can move better and more efficiently. 

Flexibility in Functionality
The sky is the limit when it comes to the variety of equipment you can use in functional fitness training. Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer Tonya Gutch, MS, says you can use anything and everything, especially the human body itself. “The equipment utilized is relevant to the exerciser and is dependent on their goals and lifestyle. “The beautiful thing about this type of exercise is that most functional training exercises can be done with just your body weight,” says Gutch.

If performed correctly and on a regular basis, functional training can improve joint mobility, stability and motor patterns. With the freedom to use as much or as little equipment as you want to, functional training isn’t confined to a specific environment where it can be done. Whether at the gym, at home, the park or even at work, the flexibility of functional training makes it more accessible to all and benefits the entire body.

Making a Functional Plan
“Functional training can serve as a standalone exercise plan or it can be incorporated into your existing workout program,” explains Gutch. She adds that functional training needs to be relevant to the individual’s needs, mirror everyday body movements and engage the core.

In this video, Tonya demonstrates a variety of functional training exercises for a well-balanced exercise program, designed to help you move better. She recommends including five of the seven functional movement types in your workout program.

  • Push
  • Pull
  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Twist
  • Core and Hips
  • Sport-Skill-Play

Simply stated, functional training assists in reducing your risk of injury, improves performance of daily activities and enhances your movement whether you’re at work or at play. 

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit or call 972.233.4832.