Functional approaches as opposed to the traditional anatomical methods of training poses extensive discussions within the fitness world. Many individuals lack the underlining difference between these two training methods. Let us take it back to basics and go over the actual definitions of each term. ‘Function’, when utilized in its biological sense, is when the object occurs in a system that evolved through a process of natural selection. In other words, ‘function’ is the forward processing resulting from a chain of sequenced events to reach a goal or be successful at a task. On the other hand, the biological term ‘anatomy’, is the structural makeup of an organism by separating the parts of that organism in order to ascertain their position, relations, structure, and function. Anatomy is the part of the sum, whereas Function is the sum of the parts.
Taking these two methods under the same roof of a gym the conversation of athlete demonstrating the anatomical approach of training would say something along the lines of, “today is back and arms day”. Majority of the exercises will focus on movement through one joint of the body. Whereas another athlete that will be utilizing a functional approach to their training, that conversation would sound like, “today I am working on hip hinge with shoulder and trunk stability”. These exercises demonstrate movements of multiple joints, arms, core, pelvis, and legs simultaneously and in a sequenced fashion. The “sum of the parts”.
Athletes or active individuals training to maintain a level of fitness that is utilized in organized sports, or multifaceted events such as a triathlons, CrossFit competitions, and/or road and trail races, the one thing that is required for success involves an appropriate coordination of movements. Let us break it down even further: take the average adult, their daily most simplistic movement is walking. This is when one leg moves forward as the opposite arm moves backwards, all while our core and trunk maintains stability to allow coordination of that movement followed by a smooth transition into the next step. Providing evidence that naturally our bodies are meant to move as a sum of it’s parts, and not just one part at a time. Solely this is the reason why I train functionally due to it enabling myself and my clients to perform not only our athletic activities more proficiently but even our daily tasks of walking, running, going up and down stairs, to carrying groceries, will be much easier and decrease any chances of injury.
Functional training is best understood and delivered by someone who is FMS certified. Check your local area for such a trainer, or please feel free to visit my website www.sportsfxn.com for further information.
Dr. Stephanie Smith is a licensed sports chiropractic physician in the greater area of Atlanta. Originally from New York, Dr. Smith, found her love for sports while extensively participating in many activities, to find herself earning an athletic scholarship to Penn State where she participated with the Women's PSU soccer team. That, then took her further to play professionally in Vancouver, Canada in which there she became highly interested in improvement in sports performance and athletic durability. Her desire to continue playing at a high level earned her the opportunity to attend Life University in Marietta, GA where she earned her Doctorate degree in Chiropractic and also her Master's degree in sports medicine. Her drive and continued determination to help those seeking improved physical and health goals is her motivation behind creating this website and program called SportsFXN!