36 Pittsfield Road
Lenox MA 01240
(413) 637-1414
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Quote: “In order to be wealthy, you must be healthy”


This month's topic: Why do you need to train functionally?


Functional training is exercising in a manner relative to human movement. No two individuals move the same way; the body is comprised of over several hundred muscles and over 200 bones. Joint stability and  muscle movement for each individual will vary. All individuals will benefit from functional training. We all squat, push, pull, rotate, balance, accelerate and decelerate. Whether you are a housewife, construction worker or athlete moving in many different planes is performed in your daily activities. A house wife may bend quickly and lift quickly to raise her child, a construction worker may bend quickly and lift quick with a (kyphotic) rounded back, an athlete may stop and twist quickly with a rotated spine. One may lift with one arm over head to put groceries up in a cabinet with a rotated back using one arm while standing!

Functional training trains to prepare one for the normal movements of human activity not to train to avoid it. We do not move slow and controlled all the time so when we consistently train in one slow and controlled isolated movement we subject ourselves to unprepared daily human strength movements. Using an integrated approach to training the human movements of the body will better prepare us for the normal activities one encounters. To train with the majority of machines which trains your body in just one plane of movement does little to prepare an individual for the many different movements of activities that the human body encounters. The traditional body building era and exercises have been dominated by million dollar equipment manufactures. However, sitting does very little for strengthening the core muscles of the stomach and back and many assisting muscles of the limbs in multiple movements in a functional manner. An individuals’ training should be concerned with closing the gap between absolute strength (ex. bench press/squat 1x) and functional strength (using many muscles in varying positions)  the human body does not move with just  one muscle isolated, it moves in varying movements with many different muscles. The training regimen incorporating overall strength and functional strength is paramount to optimal strength in any activity. Using dumbbells, barbells, physio balls and balance apparatuses that closely correlate to the many different movements of human movement will help optimize ones ability to decrease injury and gives you strength you can use.

An individual who always trains a chest press on a machine sitting does very little to strengthen the many muscles of the stomach, back and the balance needed thus creating inefficient optimal strength. That same individual’s strength will drop dramatically when placed on a physio ball because of the many different muscles recruited in the body during the pressing of the weight. If one's sole purpose is a strong working body that will operate in many different activities, than incorporating the right types of functional training is imperative to your success!


By: J. D. Reber M.S. & B.S. Exercise Science, CSCS & NASM- CFT



Remember, eat healthy and live wealthy!

Personal training in Lenox, MA