About Functional Sports Training
Where does Functional Sports Training (FST) come from?
Functional training has its origins in rehabilitation. Physical therapists often use this approach to retrain patients with movement disorders, which may appear after injury. Over the last decade all different sports pro-athletes have started to use functional training exercises to improve their performance in their sport. Nowadays functional sports training is part and parcel of every pro athlete’s training regimen and of course more and more amateur and hobby sports people are taking advantage of functional training too.
What is the ‘secret’ of Functional Sports Training and how does it boost your performance?
Functional Sports Training is specially designed to improve your performance in real life and real sports situations. This is achieved by creating or adapting exercises that, as in real life or real sports, work multiple joints and emphasize the body’s natural ability to move in six degrees of freedom.
In comparison most fitness facilities have a variety of weight training machines, which target and isolate specific muscles. The movements people do with these training machines do not necessarily bear any relationship to the movements people make in their regular activities or sports; the only gain is the body building (muscle building) effect but without any functional use in real life and real sports situations. Because for every “real” movement different muscles have to work together.
For example if you lift some weight from the ground (that could be a child or a medicine ball), all the muscles – from your ankles up to your core and further to your arms – have to do stabilization work to make that move possible. Of course Functional Training does also train your muscles and make them grow but besides that also trains the coordinative skills that let you use your power!
What are the advantages of Functional Sports Training over “classic“ fixed variable training techniques?
In 2009 Spennewyn conducted research, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which compared functional training to fixed variable training techniques. This was considered the first research of its type comparing the two methods of strength training.
Results of the study showed very substantial gains and benefits in the functional training group over fixed training equipment. Functional users had a 58% greater increase in strength over the fixed-form group. Their improvements in balance were 196% higher over fixed and reported an overall decrease in joint pain by 30%.
That should just underline the credibility of what we try to tell you here
What are the benefits of Functional Training?
By doing functional training you will develop greater strength, balance, coordination, endurance, flexibility and focus. Also it is the best way of training to prevent injuries.
STRENGTH: FST provides functional upper body, lower body and core exercises that will improve the strength of your muscles – but not in isolation. Functional training exercises work with multiple joints, challenging whole muscle chains – just like in real sports and real life.
ENDURANCE: FST training sessions are designed to improve your aerobic and anaerobic endurance so you can go harder – for longer.
BALANCE AND COORDINATION: Coordination and balance are one of the key ingredients of FST. It is the secret of being able to react appropriately to different situations or changing conditions! Muscle strength alone just doesn’t do it. Our bodies are dependent on intramuscular coordination, which means the ability of many tiny muscle groups to work simultaneously to move in the best possible ways to deal with the situation. For that they have to work together in the fastest most efficient, most coordinated way. Training our balance and coordination is not only to achieve our best performance but also – very important- to prevent injuries.
FLEXIBILITY: Training for real sports and real life range of motion is a fundamental advantage of functional training! Muscles and joints prepared in this way perform better and resist injury better.
FOCUS: Every FST session has been designed to improve your focus. Time interval work/rest periods help you to stay focused when performing and also to relax and collect energy when resting! The exercises are challenging themselves, and by reducing resting times during the training sessions the training itself does not only get more efficient but you also train to stay focused when your body is already tired. Being able to focus will also help you avoid injury through mistakes and mishaps in your sport.
INJURY PREVENTION: For all levels of athletes injury prevention is a big gain and one of the reasons worth training for. To avoid injuries it is essential to perform exercises in the correct form. That is not just important to avoid injuries while working out but also to program the key positions right for when doing your sport later. That’s why our focus is always on the right form and we offer all exercises with different levels of difficulty suitable for a beginner to a pro athlete.
Who is this training designed for?
With its different level programs (FST beginner program, FST advanced program, FST sport specific programs) and the option to increase intensity and difficulty of each exercise through different ways, FST is suitable for anyone. Hobby sport level athletes successfully use it as their ultimate conditioning training program and also professional level athletes integrate it in their year round periodic training routines. It is designed for all people who want to train smart to step up their personal level: to get stronger and fitter, improve their performance in their sport, prevent injuries, lose weight, look better or just to become their healthiest and fittest!