Power Yoga Schedule Change

Starting this Tuesday, October 28th Power Yoga will taking place at 5:30 P.M. and will continue to run on this day and time.

Hope to see you all there.

Is Functional Training Misunderstood?

Functional Training, the most misunderstood term in fitness?


It seems like everyone in fitness and sports needs to niche, form some sort of specialized group, give themselves an “identity”, or even in extreme cases create a potentially unhealthy cult type fitness sub group.


My first issue with any of that is why we are so obsessed in this society with creating an “identity?” This is something that is especially rampant in fitness. Everyone nowadays needs to give themselves a “nickname” in the fitness world, name their fitness program, have not so nice names for other fitness groups and people and so on. What ever happened to just training to better yourself each day and not feeling the need to announce it on Facebook and pat your training buddy on the back congratulating him on how great he did today in your workout! I could write about identity issues in the fitness world for days but I don’t not want to get too far off topic.


Now let me get back to where I am going with this article. Here at SPI I have already noticed how we are being labeled the “functional training” guys in our geographic area. This is most likely because all of our trainers have a background in Physical Therapy if I had to make a guess.


My qualm with this is that the general public now views functional training as the people standing on stability balls doing dumb bell exercises, or the circus looking acts of standing on a BOSU ball upside down spinning a medicine ball around your head. Cross fitters think “functional training” is a bunch of wimpy PT exercises, Power lifters don’t even think about what “functional training” is and the old time gym goer thinks it’s just plain dumb. It is crazy to think this because just a few years back everyone was into the “functional training” craze and you actually saw people stop doing their traditional lifting routines. Again another concept that shows the fitness industry is very fad driven and that the smart fitness goer will avoid falling into any new fad.


Unfortunately the fitness industry created their own meaning for functional training which is usually defined as training with light weights on all kinds of funky unstable surfaces to just look cool and different. Remember the fitness is still a business in which the main goal is to make money and a profit and terms and concepts can easily get jumbled to draw people to believing in certain ideas.


Contrary to what many may believe the term functional training has been around for a long time and maybe even can date back to the 1970s and 80s. By definition functional training originally referred to the way in which our muscular and neurological systems operate and produce motor output. As a matter of fact most individuals in the sports and exercise world refer to neuromuscular functionality when referring to the term functional training. How many personal trainers and fitness instructors are out there that don’t even know what that means? My guess is a lot. Many people will say functional training must occur in multiple dimensions i.e. Sagital, transverse, frontal but that is also not always true as functionality is a very specific term and an activity that can be functional for one athlete by definition may not be for an athlete in another sport and certain multidimensional exercises are not always functional to certain events.


With all that being said I sometimes wish the term “functional training” was only used in the performance and rehabilitation science communities. I think it just again further contributes to this identity issue we see here in the fitness world. I also think it creates negative stereotypes and attitudes about certain styles of training.


We here at SPI strive to be experts in exercise science, strength and conditioning, and rehabilitation from injury. Yes we do use functional training (and know what it means) when it is appropriate and applicable. No our functional training exercises are not all on BOSU’s, stability balls, and balance boards and do often involved lifting heavy objects and moving at maximal speeds (although we do have plenty in the gym). We use Olympic lifts, power lifts, suspension trainers, kettle bells, medicine balls, and most other efficient training tools when specific and appropriate to each individual. We also don’t get too caught up in trying to niche in certain sub groups of fitness and always try to use what is positive and reject what is useless. We design individualized programs for each athlete and client that walks into our door and encourage hard work and dedication, something that I believe is the most basic need for success with any training program.


Remember, don’t get too caught up in any of this fitness sub group and clique rivalries! Work hard, train with intelligence, and ignore the negative attitudes out there. Fitness doesn’t always need to be a contest and if you just worry about improving your own performance you have won the battle.




Siff, M. (2002, October 1). Functional Training Revisited. Retrieved October 20, 2014.