Functional Training

“Functional training is training with a purpose” – Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning. Functional training is customized training for an athlete/team with similar goals. The primary goal should be to allow the individual/team to handle the physical demands of their respective activity/sport, which will decrease their risk of injuries and allow them to improve their performance.


The below list shows the domains of fitness. A good fitness program will consider the function of the athlete/team and address all the domains of fitness as required by a their sport.

As a physical therapist common trends in injuries are seen, such as patients with knee pain having weak hip stabilizers or decreased ankle motion. The last consideration for any fitness program should be the prevalence of injuries in the sport.

Example: A hockey player’s fitness program should emphasize hid ADD eccentrics (sideboard) in order to reduce the incidence of groin strains, which are very common. Core strengthening, hip flexor flexibility, and hip extension (glutes) are also imperative to allow for proper spinal alignment to reduce the risk of back pain and improve power production while skating.

Example#1: A figure skater should incorporate hip stabilizer training to prevent the occurrence of knee pain secondary to increased knee valgus, along strengthening of the quads in a concentric and eccentric manner.

Domains of fitness:
1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
2. Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
3. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
4. Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units,
to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
7. Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
8. Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
9. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.


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