What Can Functional Training Improve?

Are you tired of traditional workouts that leave you feeling bored and unmotivated? 

Functional training can be exactly what you need to liven up your exercise regimen and advance your physical capabilities. 

Instead of merely working on specific muscles, functional training concentrates on enhancing your total functional movement patterns. 

Functional training may enhance your balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination by simulating real-life activities. 

This makes it advantageous for people of all fitness levels, from novices to professional athletes. 

In this article, we will examine the various ways functional training may enhance your physical prowess and general quality of life.

Quick Summary

  • Functional training focuses on movements that resemble daily tasks.
  • It can boost calorie burn, support lean muscle mass, enhance coordination and mobility, produce a healthier physique, and improve movement efficiency.
  • Although dumbbells and other equipment can offer diversity and difficulty to workouts, functional training can be performed with little to no equipment.
  • Anyone with diverse fitness levels and objectives can benefit from functional training.
  • It is a flexible and efficient method for enhancing general fitness and movement patterns.

What Is Functional Training?

Functional training is a type of training that focuses on preparing the body for daily tasks. It utilizes exercises that simulate real-life actions like carrying groceries, climbing stairs, or lifting a child. These drills, known as compound motions, frequently include using numerous muscle groups, increasing overall fitness and functional capacity. 

Exercises that target the core muscles (abs, back, and hips), which offer stability and support for the spine, are frequently included in functional training. Planks, bridges, and bird dogs are examples of such exercises. Exercises that improve balance, coordination, and stability, such as single-leg deadlifts, lunges, and step-ups, are also included. Bodyweight, resistance bands, kettlebells, and medicine balls are standard equipment used in functional training.

8 Benefits of Functional Training

Recently, functional training has become more well-liked, and for a good reason. It not only adds excitement to workouts but also has several advantages over more conventional forms of training. In this part, we’ll examine the top eight benefits of functional training and how they may improve your body and general health. From injury prevention to increased sports performance, functional training has something to offer everyone.

  • Improved Movement Efficiency

Functional workouts involve the simultaneous use of many muscle groups, which enhances balance and coordination. As a result, movements seem more accessible and natural, and the stress placed on particular muscles, joints, and bones may also be lessened. Also, by increasing your movement efficiency through functional training, you’ll be able to carry out more challenging exercises and motions with ease, aiding you in more rapidly and successfully achieving your fitness objectives [1].


The squat is an effective exercise that works the legs, glutes, core, and back muscles. Increase the power and coordination of your entire lower body by doing squats regularly, making getting out of a chair or carrying groceries more straightforward and effective. 

  • Builds Better Physique

Functional exercises serve to enhance total body composition by increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat in addition to strengthening muscles [2].

Several muscle groups are worked simultaneously during functional training, which increases calorie burn and total energy expenditure. This can enhance your general health and fitness while also assisting you in developing a leaner, more toned figure.

Functional training may also assist in enhancing your alignment and posture, which can help you develop a healthier physique. You may stand taller and seem more confident and fit by strengthening the muscles that promote excellent posture, such as the core and back muscles.

  • Improved Movement Patterns

Your movement patterns, or how your body moves throughout daily tasks, can be improved with functional training.

For instance, many functional exercises concentrate on everyday activities, such as bending, twisting, lifting, and squatting. You may enhance your general coordination and balance by regularly performing these motions in a controlled and intentional manner, making them feel more effortless and natural [3].

Also, better movement habits lessen your chance of falling and help you avoid being hurt, especially as you age. Functional training may allow you to enhance your movement patterns and achieve your objectives, whether you’re an athlete trying to improve your performance or simply looking to move more quickly and confidently.

  • Better Coordination and Mobility

This exercise style emphasizes movements that work for many muscle groups simultaneously, test your body’s balance, and increase mobility. With time, it also helps to improve coordination. Regularly performing functional motions can enhance your ability to move more quickly and effectively, improving your performance in your chosen activities and lowering your risk of injury.

Mobility and coordination can also enhance the overall quality of life by making routine activities feel more natural and effortless. You can, for instance, strengthen your capacity to walk, climb stairs, and engage in other lower-body mobility-required tasks by increasing hip mobility [4].

  • Increased Calorie Burn

Several muscle groups are worked simultaneously during functional activities, increasing calorie burn and total energy expenditure.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) methods can be included with functional training to aid boost calorie burn. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) increases metabolism and continues to burn calories for hours after the workout has ended by alternating between periods of intense exercise and rest [5].

Functional training may also be tailored to target particular body parts, which can aid enhance calorie burn. You may burn more calories and raise total energy expenditure by including activities that target bigger muscle groups, such as the back, and legs.

  • Increased Lean Muscle Mass

Lean muscle mass, which is essential for general health and fitness, may also be increased with functional exercise.

Functional training may also be tailored to target particular body parts, which helps promote muscular growth. Encourage muscle growth and boost total muscle mass by including activities that target bigger muscular groups, such as the back and legs [6].

Functional training can also boost lean muscle growth by utilizing progressive overload approaches. You may test your muscles and encourage muscular growth by progressively increasing the exercise resistance or weight.

  • Improved Aerobic Capacity

The body’s aerobic capacity, which measures how effectively your body can use oxygen during exercise, may be improved through functional training. This style of practice focuses on full-body, high-intensity motions that raise the heart rate and demand a lot of oxygen, improving cardiovascular fitness and endurance.

You may enhance the quantity of oxygen your body can use during exercise by including functional training in your workout regimen. This will improve your general fitness, endurance, and energy levels. Anybody trying to increase their performance in endurance sports like running, cycling, or swimming should pay special attention to this advantage [7].

Increased aerobic capacity can aid in lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular-related diseases. Hence, functional training is an excellent option if you want to improve your level of general fitness and cardiovascular health.

  • Decreased Muscle Imbalances

Muscle imbalances, typical in those who lead sedentary lifestyles or engage in repetitive motions, can be reduced with functional training. Muscle imbalances can result in pain, discomfort, and a higher risk of injury when specific muscles grow stronger or more tightly knit than others.

By using exercises that target many muscle groups at once, functional training can assist in developing total muscular balance and symmetry and reduce muscle imbalances [8].

Also, by including exercises that focus on the stabilizer muscles, functional training can aid in reducing muscular imbalances. Smaller, frequently underutilized muscles are called stabilizers to assist bigger muscle groups and maintain posture and balance.

By combining unilateral exercises, functional training can also aid in reducing muscular imbalances. Activities that only work one side of the body at a time are referred to as unilateral exercises. They can assist in detecting and addressing imbalances between the body’s left and right sides.

Functional Training Pros and Cons

Improved functional fitness, enhanced muscle strength and endurance, better balance and stability, and more variation in exercises are just a few advantages of this training.

Yet, there may be drawbacks to functional training. Proper form and technique are essential to avoid injuries and get the most out of the workouts. This may be difficult for novices who want more guidance or teaching. 

Also, those with specific injuries or medical problems may be unable to perform particular activities. Also, some functional training tools, like kettlebells or resistance bands, could be pricey or hard to get.

Functional Training Examples

Several activities and tools can be used to carry out functional training. Squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, planks, and burpees are typical examples of functional training exercises. Bodyweight, free weights, resistance bands, or kettlebells can all be used to do these exercises.

Exercises designed to prepare the body for carrying heavy things, ascending stairs, or twisting and turning the torso are also a part of functional training. A functional training program might include exercises like farmers carry, stair climbers, and Russian twists since they all simulate everyday actions.


What Is the Goal of Functional Training?

The goal of functional training is to increase the body’s capacity to execute daily tasks effectively and securely.

Can Functional Training Build Muscle?

Yes, functional training can build muscle because it typically involves using resistance and challenging the muscles to work harder than they are used to.

Is Functional Training Better Than Weights?

Yes, functional training is better than weights. Functional training builds strength that can be used in real-life or sport-specific situations.

What Equipment Should I Use for Functional Training?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what equipment to use for functional training, dumbbells are a versatile and practical option. 

Several types of dumbbells are available, including neoprene, hex, and adjustable dumbbells. 

Feel free to read or guide on the best adjustable dumbbells of 2023 to get the most out of your functional workouts.

The secret is to select a weight that pushes you but doesn’t compromise on appropriate form and technique. Don’t hesitate to switch up your equipment and routines for a varied and entertaining workout.

Equipment that may be utilized for functional training in addition to dumbbells includes resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, and suspension trainers. 


  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/3/1074
  2. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2021.738878/full
  3. https://eurapa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/s11556-014-0144-1
  4. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/3/1074
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121010161840.htm
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8822892/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9020471/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6101060/

Vanja is a Faculty of Sport and Physical Education student and a functional training enthusiast. He fell in love with the idea of functional strength during his sportsman years when his coach showed him movement pattern-based training. Today, he aims to convey as much knowledge as possible through his blog Functional Body Savage and create modern functional savages.

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