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What does “Functional” even mean?

by Chris Lofland / January 10, 2019
I’ll say it right now. Anyone claiming that, in general, a movement is not functional is BS. One must evaluate an individual’s needs and then decide whether something will be functional for that individual.

Are Olympic lifts functional for a father who holds a desk job and wants to be able to play around with his kids on the weekend? Probably not, but some joint mobilizing, light endurance training and some basic strength work would probably do the trick.

Is a 1 Rep Max Back Squat functional for anyone other than a Competitive Powerlifter?

Is a 600lb deadlift a functional goal for the construction worker that picks up 100-200 lb objects regularly. Maybe, but is it more functional than the person who can easily do 300lbs? They can probably function similarly at work and the person just maintaining a 300lb deadlift probably has a much lower likelihood of getting injured during training.

Is a handstand functional or just a fun thing to do. If you want to do a handstand then it is functional for you because it is something you want to do. Does everyone need to learn it? No.

My point is that you have to have the context to call something a “functional movement,” a “good movement” and/or a “bad movement.” No one can point at an exercise and say, “that is bad” when that might be exactly what that person does every day and they need to get better at it to help not get injured.

Ignore labeling and categories of fitness like, Functional Fitness, Bodybuilding, yoga, etc. and just look at what you want and need in your life and see if that program applies to you. If you aren’t sure then ask your trainer to explain how it can apply.

If you are interested in following one of my online templates ($75/mo.) or want to join my individualized programming, feel free to email me at CMLofland@gmail.com or visit my website (www.ChrisLofland.com) for more info on programming, pricing, free articles and more! You can also follow me on Instagram at @C_Lofland

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Tags: HPC

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Chris Lofland

Chris Lofland

Chris Lofland coached and competed in the sport of gymnastics for over a decade. In 2007 he became a CrossFit coach and began coaching the CrossFit Gymnastics certifications. Since then, Chris has started his own seminar series covering gymnastics, weightlifting, and general movement. In 2016, he opened up BlueWave Fitness in Fort Worth, TX, where he coaches general fitness, performance fitness, weightlifting, and competitive Crossfit athletes.

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