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Functional Training VS Bodybuilding

Once again, another article where the word “versus” is used in the title like this is a grudge match between functional training and bodybuilding. Be assured that this is not the case. Fitness can easily be a “to each their own” lifestyle. Find what you like and enjoy, because chances are you will stick with it.


Regarding these two contrasting forms of training, one needs to understand they can work together to help improve on both spectrums. Understanding the differences between the two and their benefits will help anybody devise a plan that is best for them, whether it involves both functional training and bodybuilding or sticking to just one type of program. With bodybuilding at the forefront of mostly all fitness routines and approaches, this article will talk put it’s focus on the wonders of functional training.


Functional training needs to be looked at regarding a continuum of movement when it comes to training. Functional training as opposed to bodybuilding has an emphasis on improving any ability or activity that involves movement involved in a sport, walking, running, jumping, twisting, swimming, and much more. It also deserves to be noted that functional training is performed and executed through the utilization of the 3 planes of motion as well (sagittal, frontal, and transverse), which is vital to overall performance of the body and its ability to move and perform.


Bodybuilding puts more emphasis on strength and even aesthetics, putting performance lower in the level of importance and focus. Bodybuilding movements are much more concentrated and isolated, pinpointing a muscle group as opposed to improving on movement or action. More muscle mass is achieved in bodybuilding training which can lead to accelerated fat loss. Functional training can be much more intense and taxing on the body which can lead to more weight loss overall (muscle and fat). Both training programs need to be approached and utilized safely, however with the variety of functional training exercises and the abundance of movement involved in the training (along with resistance in some cases), possibility of injury is heightened.


Functional training has become a buzzword in the fitness world, so we will look at some of the benefits of this training style. They include:


  • Increases the Ease of Everyday Life
  • Greater Muscle Memory
  • Low Impact
  • Increases Flexibility and Coordination
  • Improves Balance and Posture
  • Helps with Joint Pain
  • Reduces Your Risk of Injury (while playing a sport or during everyday life)


Some functional training exercises include (YouTube or Google for visuals on movements):


  • Dumbbell Reverse Lunge w/ Rotation
  • Hip and Thoracic Openers
  • Single Leg Dumbbell Row
  • Yoga Squat
  • Turkish Get Up
  • Side Lunge w/ Reach
  • Conventional Back or Front Squat
  • Kettle Bell Snatch
  • Stability Ball Push Ups


One can see how these movements can easily be implemented into their own routine throughout the week. Instead of putting in a 2nd arm day or 3rd chest day, put in a functional training day, or two. Never get too dogmatic with your training, always looks how to improve what you do in whatever routine you are in. Sometimes, that means stepping out a bit and bringing in something new.


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