Functional Movements

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Functional Movements or functional training is a hot buzz word used in fitness and by trainers around the world today but, what does it actually mean? 

Well it’s about optimizing the way your body moves and handles real life situations.  Focusing your efforts on activities you do and correcting dysfunction while exercising leads to a happier and healthier life and fewer pain related consequences.

The principals of functional fitness apply to everyone and the movements are simply, anything and everything you do.  For example, movements could be anything from the skills needed by an elite athlete, lifting a baby or placing your dishes on the top shelf of a cabinet.  Functional exercises are not the single joint isolating exercises you may be familiar with; it’s acquiring an understanding and applying compound movements that incorporate many joints, much like the primal movement used in ancient times.

Examples of Types of Movements:

  • Single Joint- machine bicep curl, machine Tricep extension
  • Multi Joint- Squat, Deadlift, Kettlebell Swing. (NO MACHINES)


We seldom hear about dysfunctional movements.  In fact the vast majority of deconditioned adults exhibit limited mobility and stability throughout their bodies.  Over the course of my 15 years of being a personal trainer, I have never seen anyone who didn’t need to correct something about how they moved and that includes me.  Exercising with dysfunction is a recipe for disaster.  Adding load or lifting weight without good function is like driving your car on bad tires or being in desperate need of a wheel alignment.  Something is going to go wrong, leading to pain and injury.

So what do you do?

  • Get evaluated by a professional. The fitness community is filled with personal trainers with credentials such as PRI, FMS, MAT or NASM.
  • Discuss the possibility of Physical Therapy with your doctor, if you’re experiencing pain or feel you have a limitation.
  • Consult with a qualified Chiropractor in your area. Some of the quality certifications they may receive after their initial trainings are DICCP and ART.
  • Utilize the skills of a knowledgeable massage therapist. Massage therapist are very knowledgeable about the anatomy and the human body and may offer insight about your aliment.
  • Don’t just continue to live with pain.


Adopting an exercise regimen that includes functional fitness is the only way to train.  Your primary goal while exercising should be to improve the quality of your life or sport and live pain free. 


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