Muscle Sport Magazine

Functional Training

What it Means and Why Uniqueness is a Quality Trait  By Matthew Sgro

The new buzz word and fitness trend is functional training. But what exactly is this? It can be different things to different people. What is the function you want to perform? If you’re a basketball player and want to jump higher, that’s the function you’re training for. Jump squats and other forms of explosive exercises are what would help you. If you’re an 85 year-old woman with a hip replacement, the function you want is to walk without pain and correct your imbalances, which would of course call for something different than jump squats. Everyone is looking for something different in their functional training. This is why my philosophy on training someone is that everyone is different and everyone requires a different fitness program to get where they want to be.

Much of the functional training that I see trainers putting their clients through is not only unnecessary for the normal person, but can be dangerous and cause unneeded risk. Be very sure of the certifications and experience of your trainer in the style or form that he or she is training you in. I don’’t do too many kettle bell exercises with my clients, just the basics. I’’m not a certified or experienced kettle bell instructor. I’’m sure I will be in the future when I find the time. I love to learn. But for the time being, I’’m not going to watch a video and start having my clients throw around kettle bells. Don’’t let someone do that to you.


When starting a functional training program some of the questions your trainer should be asking you in the evaluation and consultation time (and if they don’’t give you this, run away) is, where do you want to be fitness wise? What sports, if any, do you play or want to play? What do you have trouble with in your every day life? If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, maybe part of your functional training should be things that will help you do that with less effort. If your balance is off then that’’s definitely something I’’d be working on. Don’t let someone put you on a cookie cutter functional training program if you’’re paying for an individual workout program. Don’’t let anyone make you do anything you’’re unsure of or uncomfortable with. This is just my advice. I think it only makes sense. Matthew Sgro, in addition to being a MuscleSport Mag staff writer, is the President and Founder of Elite Personal Training Studios, Inc. and Boot Camps with a Purpose, Inc., located in Exton, PA. For details, visit




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