The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently reported that functional training is one of the fastest-growing genres in the industry — and given the buzz surrounding CrossFit, bodyweight training, kettlebells and the like — I think we can all agree.
Congruently, from boutique studios to larger health club chains, “functional fitness” is a term that’s quickly finding its way onto class schedules and into the gym-goers vernacular. This begs the question: Has “functional fitness” morphed into a mere buzzword? And more, is it just another fitness trend?
Let me start by answering with “maybe” to the former, and “definitely not” to the latter.
Functional training, by definition, is a classification of exercise that involves training the body for activities performed in daily life. Moreover, the term “functional” denotes the performance of a deliberate, meaningful task that has a beginning and an end, with a result that can be observed and measured. While a seemingly simple concept, the average Joe and Joanne gym-goer generally don’t understand what functional training really means.
It is the responsibility of fitness professionals to curate authentic and informed functional training experiences. This starts with learning how to coach movement, the foundation of all functional training.
STEP 1. Education. We all know professional education is key to coaching success. Similarly, understanding the fundamentals of foundational movements is essential to functional training success.
Movement-based coaching is a new skillset for many of us. Luckily, fitness pros have solid resources in our industry, in the form of leaders who provide continuing education courses focused on movement-based coaching and science-based programming.
STEP 2. Create A Successful Functional Training Space. An effective functional training space successfully accommodates instructors running circuit-based small group classes, and members working with a personal trainer or training independently.
The functional training area provides opportunities to create new offerings to retain existing members, be attractive and non-intimidating to new members. For many clubs, it opens up new revenue-generating opportunities through small group and one-on-one training.
There are several companies that offer full-scale, turnkey solutions that include gear, education and programming — and will help you customize a space that has flow, organization and is aesthetically pleasing. Creating an authentic functional training zone is a critical factor in a club’s ability to offer the innovative functional training experiences that members want in their workout.
Brynne Elliott is the TRX senior director of training. For more information visit trxtraining.com/commercial, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888.878.5348, option 3.