What is functional fitness training about?

collage functional fitness

Just What is functional fitness training about?

Just as the name suggests, functional fitness training is just that, fitness training that allows and helps our bodies to “function” physically to the best of our individual abilities. Have you ever pushed a full trolley in a shop, carried a small child or moved a small load from A to B?? Guess what, you have already done some functional fitness training and not even been aware of it. This is what functional fitness training prepares you for……everyday life and helping you to physically function, well!! Having big biceps or a toned big chest is not much good if you can’t do simple things like gardening, mopping the house, squatting down to pick something up etc.

most folks think it’s all about this…….

……….but in reality, day to day it will help you to do activities as varied as this….

Functional fitness can improve your life in diverse areas of your life !!

Let me now walk you through what we will be discussing today in this post…..

  • How did I come to get involved with it?



  • What sort of people practice functional fitness training?



  • What proof is there that it works?



  • Benefits of functional fitness training



  • Free Common sense ‘functional fitness/training” examples



  • Side note- check out my portable gym



  • Where can I get started with functional fitness training?


How did I come to get involved with it?

I got involved with these exercises without even knowing it. As an avid gym /fitness lover I was always pretty keen to push weights etc. One day I thought to myself, I should be doing exercises that are practical and more related to the physical “functions” I need to perform at work and at home. I started to think like this because I’ve loved exercise and fitness stuff since prior military service in my younger years. I realised I love this stuff and didn’t want to give it up so I am going to have to pace myself if I want to stick with it for life. So I moved away from weights etc and into functional stuff like swimming, cycling and exercises that only used my body weight e.g. push-ups, dips etc. Then I discovered a great book that basically reinforced my thoughts towards functional fitness training all along. Further, to this, is the fact that I didn’t even know functional fitness as a practice, movement, craze, clubs etc existed. All I knew was I had to get practical about my love of fitness if I was going to hang on for the long haul. I’m in my late 40s now and intend to keep doing something like this as long as I am still wearing this mortal coil.


What sort of people practice functional fitness training?

This method of maintaining fitness is used by all types of people in society today. The Military,mothers,athletes,retired folks, students,celebrities(link to a celeb using it) etc. I am going to stick my neck out here and have a guess at why it is so wide spread across society..because it works, is simple and able to be duplicated pretty easily !!

What proof is there that it works?

my ancestors just post Australian Colonisation(note the physique) due to a hunting/ gathering lifestyle using 'functional fitness'

Think about it, the proof is all around us and written into the history of mankind. Look at the historical images of people pre-industrial revolution, notice anything??Hardly anybody is overweight!! If anything they are all sculptured and look like racehorses and greyhounds look today, lean, fit.balanced etc. We are all programmed today that to look like this you need to be part of a fitness movement, club etc.personally,I think we have lost our way when it comes to our health and diet. How the heck did they do that when there was no such thing as a local gym, weights,fitness clubs etc???Their lifestyle at the time did it for them, out of survival necessity e.g.hunting, gathering or labour-intensive food production e.g farmers. All of this required functional fitness to get it done as well as a diet that was suited to their immediate surrounds(but that is another blog for another time)

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Benefits of functional fitness training

  • It can be free to do or very close to zero cost – you know what I dislike??It seems every gym and fitness club I hear about on the radio or TV pushes a payment plan for membership. They either want to be able to direct debit your account weekly or monthly on a locked in or not some sort of contract…and most of the time I think the average annual fee is ridiculous. No way !! I say keep your cash !!… Depending on how you want to go about getting started with it. Your imagination is your budget here……
  • This training is portable – it can be done anywhere e.g. at home or in the local public park.This is why the military loves it. They can train anywhere, even in a remote area in a war zone, you don’t need gym equipment,just time,your body weight and motivation !!
  • it is functional and make sense – the movements practised in this training reflect natural body balance, movement and limitations
  • simplicity – learning this stuff isn’t rocket science,our bodies already know intuitively which way it can and should bend/flex etc. Learning these exercises should come more naturally than figuring out how to squat or bench press weights etc.

Free Common sense ‘functional fitness/training” examples

Here are a few no cost exercises that can be performed absolutely anywhere e.g. in a park, in your motel room while you are traveling etc.

Push Exercises(to focus on chest, shoulders,triceps)

Push ups on floor….

standard push ups.

… and against a wall


wall push ups.

Pull Exercises(to focus on forearms, biceps and back muscles)

pull ups on a bar……..

pull ups or chin ups...a military favourite...

Seated row…. using a cheap exercise rubber band………the band can be around your feet or the leg of your kitchen table /lounge/couch…whatever….

Seated Row - flex band can be around your feet or the leg of furniture at home.


Lifting/Carrying(to focus on shoulders, legs.)

carrying two containers filled to a load that suits you from A to B is an excellent, cheap but effective exercise drill……

carrying 2 containers from A to B...



exploding squats…..

exploding squat.

Standard squats……

standard squat.

1 leg squats……

take turns on each leg..

Core(excellent for core strength and balance)

try holding this pose for 30 second blocks..

flutter kicks……

try this leg for leg......

Side note- check out my portable gym….I can take this anywhere in the pocket of my shorts/ back pack/suitcase if need be….

my portable gym !!...just add motivation and bodyweight !!

The band used in the following demo clip has handles but for mine I just wrap either end around my hands to get a good grip on them.Also, by doing this you can increase or decrease the level of resistance that suits you during whichever movement you are doing at the time. I hope this video helps, do enjoy :))


Where can I get started with functional fitness training?

It’s pretty simple to get started with this folks.

3 options that come to mind on getting started with it can be :

  • Google it or search your local relevant Facebook groups and look for options available to you in your local area e.g. fitness clubs
  • Go on YouTube and look for “functional fitness/training” etc and see what you come up with
  • Go to your local library and search for resources related to ‘functional fitness/training “ and see what can be found there.

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So there we have it folks, some info to help you get started on your journey with functional fitness training. I truly hope that this article was able to assist somebody, somewhere !!

If you have any questions or thoughts on functional fitness training or how this article was able to assist you, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. I will reply as soon as I can!”

Stay healthy !!

Billy :))





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4 Comments on “What is functional fitness training about?”

  1. Hi!

    Sometimes paying for gym memberships has their advantages depending on where that membership is.

    But I found functional fitness to be the best option for me. Although I had no idea that is what we call it.

    I am able to be a little more consistent with fitness with functional fitness than having a membership at a gym because I can do the functional exercises anywhere at any time.

    I will begin to use my bands a little more for than I was for the reasons you described above.

    My goal is to increase my upper body strength.
    Thanks for the advice!

    1. Hi Jamie,yes same here,i loved the idea of it and doing it but didnt even know what it is called lol.Yes the beauty of it is that it can be done anywhere anytime.yes those bands are great arent they?Using your own body weight will be sufficient to increase your upper body strength no problems doing tricep dips,pull ups etc.Good luck with it.Thanks heaps for your input on this article,much appreciated :))

  2. This reminds me of a story my dad used to tell me, and he’s buff as all hell. He used to carry two big ass bags of rice on his shoulders for two miles from the grocery store cause he didn’t have a car at the time.

    Anyway, this method does work and it can replace weight lifting IF and only IF you keep going up in weight. In my opinion, weight lifting would be “easier” in the fact that you can always keep racking on the plates, however in this functional form, you have to figure out how to add weight into the water drums or something of that matter. Just some food for thought.

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