How Effective Is Functional Training – Improve Your Life By Lifting Smart

All of my training now has a purpose, I’m not just going to the gym to get bigger, or to get abs.

All of my training needs to be applicable to other facets of my life.

What is being strong?

I don’t just want to be strong. I want my strength to be relevant to everything else I do.

I don’t do bench presses just to lift a bigger number than the guy next to me. 

I do dumbbell presses or I’ll do it with kettlebell so that I’m engaging either side of my core separately.

I train Brazilian jiu jitsu so I need my strength to be relevant to that.

There’s no point racking up a big heavy bench if the majority of the time I’m pushing someone away with one hand.

I’ll also flip a kettlebell around and do presses holding the bell instead of the handle.

If I need to grab someone’s leg and push it away, I need my grip strength to be used to pushing away with my hand opened wider than the handle of a dumbbell.

Check this article on the differences between dumbbells and kettlebells.

Now the point of this article is not to put down the bench press.

That’s a great movement for building strength.

But it’s not something I need to do very often because it doesn’t come up in my life very often right now.

That may change at some point, and I’ll bring it back in.

My point is, my training needs to serve a practical purpose.

I’m a busy guy, I have limited time to train every day so I need to make every minute of that count.

I’ve also entered myself into another couple of spartan races in a few months, the 5km and 10km events.

Now honestly I don’t need to do a whole lot of running to prepare for that.

Check out this video documenting the 2 races, reckon you have what it takes to do one?

I’m just going to compete and have fun with some friends, not to win it.

But I do need to get some cardio into my training.

I also need to drop a few pounds as I’m competing in bjj and need to take a weight class.

So now I can kill two birds with one stone.

I need to do cardio, I need to cut a little weight.

I might as well get some runs in as it’s going to come in handy for the spartan races.

I’m going to train a lot, I’m going to improve my strength and fitness.

So I might as well make it applicable to everything else I have going on. 

So how effective is functional training?

It’s as effective as you make it.

Look at your other fitness goals.

Be strong for the things you need to be strong for. That may be as simple as making your job easier.

Maybe you have to lift a lot of things at work all day.

So do movements at the gym that replicate things in your day-to-day life.

That’s functional training. That’s effective.

Functional training can be done anywhere.

Check out my video below showing how you can make your day-to-day life around home better.

That’s right!

Functional training can be done at home too!

Best Functional Exercises

So I’m going to make this pretty broad.

I won’t focus on anything in particular.

But let’s have a look at what I think are the best functional movements to bring into your training.


These bad boys are a must-have in your training.

Sure, they get a bad rep in some circles.

And that comes down to poor form and trying to lift too heavy.

But if you can leave your ego at the door, and lift it correctly you will see the benefits in your life.

Always have your back straight, and lift with your legs.

Drive the weight up through your heels.

Don’t think of it as pulling it up with your arms and lower back.

Sure those muscles play a role but you need to be smart about how you get that bar up.

Your legs are strong, your lower back is vulnerable to injury so brace your core and support your spine.


No one likes thrusters, but mainly because you never just do a few of them.

Typically you do big sets at a light weight because they gas you out fast.

But if you break down what it’s made up out of, you can see where you can apply this to your life.

It’s basically a squat and a press.

Think picking something up off the floor and lifting it onto a shelf above your head.

Remember the saying lift with your knees.

We need to squat when we pick something up and our legs do most of the work, then our arms finish it off as it goes above our head.

But to save your arms too much work you can use the momentum of the squats to drive the weight up before your arms have to do more than they need to.

So this my friend is the thruster and where you can use it in your life.

Sled Push And Pull 

Ever had your car break down and need to push it out of the way or maybe to the petrol station?

Sled push.

Maybe you’ve worked with big animals?

Big stubborn animals you need to pull to get them where you need them to be?

Maybe not, but I’m sure you can apply pushing and pulling in your life.

After all, how do you open and close a door?

You push and you pull.

Sled Push and pull are awesome movements for working a lot of big muscle groups in a very practical way.

You never know when that kind of strength will come in handy.

Functional Training Benefits

The main benefit I’m trying to get to with functional training is simply improving your life.

Making it easier to do things you have to do anyway.

I use this one all the time, but just think squats and getting up and down out of a chair.

How often do we see elderly people struggling to get up out of a chair?

Ask them the last time they did any sort of strength training.

I’m not trying to be a dick here, obviously, as you get older it gets harder and harder to move heavy things around.

But you’ll be amazed at how much your strength will improve with your own body weight.

Just doing bodyweight squats every other day for the rest of your life will help you out in a big way.

I never want to get to the point where I struggle to do those things. 

Flybird Fitness

And there’s no reason why you should.

And again, I’m not wanting to sound like a dick but if you don’t use it you lose it.

It gets hard to do those basic things because we stop giving the muscles any stimulation and they start wasting away.

Everyone knows an older person that’s still kicking ass.

Still do more than people 10 years younger than them.

That’s because they kept moving.

They kept doing something.

Functional training is literally training you can apply to your life.

So if you don’t have a reason right now.

Think of what you might need in your 70s.

You don’t have to do much, but you do need to do something.

I’m going to leave that point here, you don’t need another benefit from doing functional training.

That is the benefit, everything else is a cherry on the top.

I do a lot of my functional training now with Resistance bands.

I even wrote an EBook on the benefits of training with them and how easily accessible they are for anyone.

Get yourself a FREE copy right here.