Athlepedia, The Athletics Wiki

Functional training refers to the use of predominantly functional movement as the basis of a training program. [1]


Programs that seek to integrate functional training need to consider several factors.

  1. The majority of sport takes place on the feet, therefore, the majority of athletic training should take place from a standing position.[2]
  2. Athletes need to be able to stabilize and control their bodies in all three planes of motion simultaneously.[2] Training with free weights simulates this more than machines do.
  3. Multijoint strength is more useful than single-joint strength.[2]
  4. Training explosively more closely mirrors what happens in sport and/or life.[2] Some controversy exists in explosive movements in regards to safety, however, danger typically only exists in instances of improper progression/technique.
  5. Train movements not muscle groups.[2] Athletes should focus on strengthening specific movements that have a direct impact on performance.
  6. The majority of sport takes place in all 3 planes simultaneously with primarily unilateral movements. 85% of the gait cycle (walking, running) is spent on one leg and over 70% of the muscles of the core run in a rotational plane.[2]
  7. There are other types of strength than maximal strength. Many programs neglect using relatively lighter weights and moving them at max speed (for rate of force development).
  8. Loading a technique tends to affect the mechanics of the technique negatively.[2] For example, throwing a weighted baseball can potentially mess up a pitcher's technique.
  9. Keep everything balanced. Pushing and pulling strength should be about equal.
  10. If the body cannot safely and effectively brake the motion, then it will not allow for full acceleration.[2] This means to train antagonists in addition to agonists.

See Also[]


  1. Donche, Dan (2008). FF Trainer Certification Guide. USA: Fatal Fitness. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Cosgrove, Alwyn (n.d.). Top Ten Training Tips for Athletic Conditioning Success. Retrieved on 2008-10-03.