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The Scoop: Functional Fitness Means Training for Your Real Life

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You may have heard the term “functional fitness” or the term “functional training” before, but what you might not know is how functional fitness can benefit your real life. The goal of any functional fitness program is to strengthen body parts that help you perform different activities throughout the day.

What Is a Functional Training Program?

A functional training program should include total-body exercises, which engage the body in multidirectional movements. For best results, the exercise programs can be personalized to focus on an individual’s specific needs. The exercises performed should mimic the movement patterns the individual uses in daily life, during a job, or in a sport. Rather than focusing on isolation movements, such as biceps curls or leg extensions, functional training teaches the muscles to work together through real-life activities in real-life positions. When properly applied, this type of training can make everyday activities easier, reduce the risk of injury, and improve your quality of life.

Does Functional Training Really Matter?

A study by the American Council on Exercise showed that incorporating functional exercises into workout programs provides significant benefits. It improves day-to-day activities, decreases the risk of injury, improves coordination, and increases the quality of your life. Without including functional exercises, you could look great aesthetically but not function optimally. This is especially true as you begin to grow older.

What Are Some Examples of Functional Training?

Examples of functional exercises can include exercises that use your own body weight for resistance. Working with your own body weight rather than fitness machines incorporates more muscle fibers, which can improve strength, balance, and flexibility.  

Some examples of functional exercises and how they relate to daily activity:

  • Squat – trains the muscles used when we sit down and get up from a chair or pick up low objects
  • Deadlift supports lifting heavy items off the floor
  • Overhead Press – supports the everyday activity of placing things over your head (for example, putting things on shelves or into an overhead compartment on an airplane)
  • Rotational Movements – exercises that rotate your body


Before starting a functional fitness program, it is a good idea to check with your doctor. Working with a qualified trainer can help you get started. If you’d like to test out a functional training fitness class, request a free five-day pass to UFC GYM today.

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