What is Function? What isn’t Functional?


This question prompted me to right this post: “How do you incorporate functional lower body training with traditional strength training with heavy weights?” Heavy weights are functional, we must determine how functional in regard to the overall training objective. I define Function as integrated, multidimensional movement. Given the dimensions of this definition everything is functional. It not a matter of being functional or non functional, rather it is a matter of how functional? Think of function as a continuum moving from left to right. On the left side of the continuum is a sterile isolated environment that does not truly challenge the body. On the far right is a high level movement incorporating all planes of motion with a high proprioceptive demand. Heavy weights are very functional for an interior lineman in American football at certain times of the years because in their sport they must overcome external resistance. We are adding to confusion by dividing exercises into functional and non functional. We need to think of placing exercise on a continuum, obviously the more time we work, train, and rehab to the right of the continuum the better chance we have of having that transfer to the actual activity. Ultimately it is all about how training transfers to performance that matter most.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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