Results Based Training by Jordan Fitness | Functional Fitness Training

In 1943 the Chairman of IBM, Thomas Watson, quoted "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers". A conservative estimate considering these days many of us have five each in some capacity or another.

History is littered with predictions of the failure of concepts, ideas and inventions. In 1878 British Parliament referred to light bulbs as "good enough for our transatlantic friends but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men". In 1904 Marshal Ferdinand Foch stated "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value". In 1926 Lee De Forest declared television was "an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming" and in 2005 Sir Allan Sugar insisted, "by next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput".

I know that this is a long winded way to make a point, but it is a point that needs to be hammered home in light of certain sectors of our industry questioning whether 'functional' fitness is just a 'fad'.

Referring to something as a fad implies that it will be popular for a period of time, usually a short period, until something more bizarre and quirky and well marketed comes along to take our affection. Then the old 'fad' fades into insignificance as the new 'Vibro 2000 Ab Blaster'...or 'Pilloxing'...become the apple of the fitness industry's eye.

So, according to some, functional fitness is a fad and therefore sooner or later it is going to disappear. Good luck with that.

Naysayers beware, you may need to reconsider. After all, how do those shoes get on your feet every day? No matter what your technique is there is an element of 'functional' movement involved. How do you manage to play with your children at the weekend? 'Functional' movements again no doubt. Carry your own shopping bags? Walked up some stairs? Ever thrown a ball? All are 'functional' movements.

By way of its nature functional fitness training is based upon natural human movements that have been used for hunting, gathering, fighting, recreation and maybe even procreation. For hundreds, thousands, arguably millions of years man has been developing the very useful arts of pushing, pulling, lifting, squatting, carrying, dragging, smashing and wrestling with others. In essence, functional training relates to ANYTHING that enhances the person's ability to go about their daily routine. If you can call 'since the dawn of time' a fad, then functional fitness is most definitely guilty of being a fad. 


The problem is that a lot of people believe that 'functional' training means standing on BOSUs, on one leg, with your eyes, closed whilst juggling protein shakers. Well that is precisely the type of careless exercise prescription which makes people believe that this is a fad. But as we mentioned earlier that is a long way from the truth, and anyone who believes that 'functional' training is just a fad needs to get a better understanding of what they are talking about. 

Pictured below is a man who every fitness professional should know more about. His name is Eugene Sandow. He was an old school strongman from the late 1800s who entertained crowds with his incredible physique and unbelievable feats of strength (including forward and backward somersaults with 16kg Dumbbells in each hand and a 140kg single arm barbell Bent Press - with a bodyweight of around 85kgs).

Sandow achieved these feats before BOSUs, supplements or weightlifting belts/straps/gloves were even invented - instead he trained with the basic equipment at his disposal and perfected the types of movements which he would require for his shows...therefore making his training 'functional' for his day-to-day life. 

They were wrong about computers. Wrong about light bulbs. Wrong about airplanes. Wrong about iPods. And wrong about functional fitness training.

If you still think functional fitness training is just a fad then just ask Eugene Sandow, and he will probably tell you that you are talking a load of old Pilloxing.


Written by @marklaws2011

Written by Mark Laws — January 30, 2013