What Is Functional Strength Training?

An offseason training regime for athletes almost always includes both weight training and conditioning. No matter what sport you play, this is essential. However, as athletes develop strength over time, the way they train should change. 

Functional strength training will help athletes improve in their specific sport. It ensures athletes train with a purpose, mirroring the movements they will make in the sport they play and building strength along the way. Although younger athletes should be focusing primarily on overall strength, as athletes develop and grow older, functional strength training becomes much more important. 

At Warren Academy, we offer a variety of strength, speed and sport-specific training programs to help athletes improve their overall sports performance. Below, we go over what functional strength training is and the benefits it offers to athletes. 

What is functional strength training?

Functional strength training essentially is a type of training that is designed to help you perform certain movements and activities more easily and efficiently. Usually, functional strength training incorporates more than one muscle group, if not the whole body. This really helps athletes mimic the movements that they make in the sports they play. 

Benefits of functional strength training

So how does practicing the movements you make in a game during an offseason training program benefit you? 

Improved movement

One of the biggest benefits functional strength training provides to athletes is improved movement. For instance, offensive linemen have to explode off the line to make a block. A great exercise that will help train them to use these exact movements is the jammer. Similarly, there are many other exercises that imitate certain movements across positions of all sports. 

Not only does incorporating this type of training into your workouts improve your movements, but also the efficiency and effectiveness of these movements. By building strength, athletes are able to perform these movements easier and more efficiently than ever before. 

Improved mobility

Another benefit of functional strength training is improved coordination and mobility, both of which are needed to perform at a high level in most sports. Mobility is the ability to control movements through an entire range of motion. Not only does better mobility improve performance, but it can also reduce an athlete's risk of getting injured. 

Builds functional muscle

Lastly, functional strength training will help athletes build muscle strength. It doesn’t isolate muscles in training. Instead, it forces athletes to use multiple muscle groups, especially the ones that they use the most in their sport. In turn, this helps athletes gain more functional strength when using certain muscle groups together rather than using them in isolation. 

When it comes to strength training, there are many different approaches athletes can take. As athletes develop, functional strength training can really help improve an athlete’s performance, as well as offer a variety of other benefits as well. Consider instilling functional strength training in your offseason workout regime.