Mesut is a great guy and I wanted to interview him because of his experience of working with clients to help them build their strength and fitness, as well as offering therapeutic support to help them avoid injury. As part of our conversation, Mesut and I also got to talk about functional training and how important this is to build and maintain fitness.
For those unfamiliar with functional training, it involves exercising the body for the activities performed in daily life. It has its origins in rehabilitation, with physical and occupational therapists often using functional training to help patients with movement disorders.
Functional training attempts to adapt or develop exercises that allow individuals to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries. Equipment that can typically be used in functional training includes cables, barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, and kettlebells and resistance bands, amongst others.
In many cases, however, the equipment requirements of functional training are minimal.
To be effective, a functional training programme should include several different elements which can be adapted to an individual's needs, based on functional tasks and everyday activities. Training programmes should also be tailored to each person, with each programme specific to the goals of the individual. It must also be specific to the individual state of health, including presence or history of injury.
In terms of components, functional training should include a variety of exercises that work on flexibility, core, balance, strength and power, focusing on multiple movement planes. It should also be progressive, steadily increasing the difficulty of the training and its demands.
Finally, functional training should be repeated frequently and can also use real-life object manipulation (great for exercising at home or in a natural environment like a park!) and feedback should be incorporated into the training from the client as the training develops.
As those who know me will be aware, I am a passionate advocate concerning the lifelong benefits of functional training and I train many of my clients using such principles as a core to the training I provide.
The reason for this is because functional training not only builds strength and flexibility for the whole body, it also constantly develops overall fitness. It is also intelligent training for the long-term, whilst providing short-term gains in terms of energy levels and flexibility.