Functional training has become very popular in the past decade. Type “functional training” into an Internet search engine and you will see no less than 7 million links. Functional training is often viewed as another breakthrough in sports training for both increased performance and rehabilitation.  However, functional training is for athletes and non-athletes alike.   
So, what is “functional training” and why is it important? There are many definitions and descriptions of functional training out there, which confuses many. Steven Plisk, a renowned strength coach, authored a “Hot Topic” article on functional training on behalf of the National Strength and Conditioning Agency. In this paper, Plisk offers this definition, “functional training involves movements that are specific – in terms of mechanics, coordination and/or energetics – to one’s activities of daily living.” Plisk is suggesting here that functional training is anything that you do that directly transfers to the things you do in your daily life.   
Functional training is important because it helps us perform our daily tasks more easily and efficiently. Just like anything else, that takes practice. And, unfortunately, many in our society are not active enough and therefore, do not perform these daily tasks often enough. So over time we become deconditioned, and these daily tasks become more difficult and sometimes unattainable without assistance. Please note, if you are already at this point, don’t give up. You can regain that strength.   
Two good examples of functional training exercises are the squat and the deadlift. Why is squatting important? Tell me how do you plan on getting off of the chair or toilet bowl without performing the upward phase of the squat? Squatting is often neglected as we often find ways to modify this and other human movements without even thinking about it. We grab on to something or we lean in a certain way to make it happen. Over time we are becoming weaker and weaker and increase our risk of injury more and more.  
The deadlift is another great functional exercise. The deadlift trains your body to lift an object safely and efficiently. Everyone must pick objects up. Sometimes these objects are light, such as a newspaper, and sometimes the object is heavy like a bag of dog food or a child.  Obviously the heavier the load is the greater the chance of injury, but equally important is the quality of movement itself. There are many out there who have injured themselves trying to lift a relatively light load because they used improper form.
In conclusion, functional training is vital because it makes your life more enjoyable. You should do exercises that allow you to move more effectively and efficiently in your everyday life.  This helps creates a sense of independence, even as you age.  So, make functional training a major focus of your strength training.    
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