We define functional training as training designed to improve and optimize the function of the human body based on the principles on which it was designed. We evolved as a specie by adapting to the stresses our environment has posed on us for millions of years. Standing on 2 legs, walking, running, throwing, pushing, pulling, twisting, bending and squatting were all movements we needed to perform on a daily basis in order to survive. By repeating these neurological patterns over time they have become encoded in our genetic sequence. By observing these movements we can make several assumptions on how we our built. In every movement, many different muscles groups work in harmony, with a synergy between prime movers and stabilisers. The stabilizers have to support the structure in place for prime movers to carry out the movement. We can also observe how we function optimally working with opposite arms and legs together. This is clearly visible when running, walking and throwing, which on a level of hierarchy were the most significant movements for our survival. This has developed our anterior and posterior oblique sling which allows us to rotate our trunk and links our upper and lower bodies contra-laterally. This is all connected due to our fascia, which is like a 3d spider web that wraps around all our bones, muscles, nerves, and organs. The fascia links muscles to work together allowing functional whole body movement patterns.
Most gyms, with the aim of helping inexperienced clients achieve quick and easy gains in muscle size and feel good, have fancy equipment which allows you to be in a comfortable position generally sitting or lying down, and isolate one muscle ( a prime mover) while leaving out the stabilizers. Other approaches like heavyweight conditioning and Cross Fit have also been prevailing all around the world. But these approaches just don’t take into account the interactions of the fascia and our sling systems, and we just need to ask ourselves if it's optimal to load our joints with heavy loads and move up and down in sagittal plane when we evolved by moving in multiple plains of motion. We are at the time in history where the most amount of money is spent on gyms and rehabilitation, yet more and more people are suffering from musculoskeletal conditions and pain every year. Since it's estimated that around 98% of nonimpact musculoskeletal pain is due to poor posture and movement patterns, It would make sense to make this a priority when training.
We all have unique bodies with certain restrictions or imbalances due to past injuries, dysfunctional postural habits, and other stressors. At FPL we begin our approach by addressing each individual's unique imbalances. We restore range of motion and create new neural associations so that we learn to stabilize and hold tension authentically and regain our sense of proprioception. This will allow us to maintain a functional posture and develop efficient movement patterns. We progress from simple to complex functional exercises and specifiy the training to our clients fitness goals. Whether its to train for an event, to gain strength or to look good, from a functional foundation the musculoskeletal system will develop in proportion, and the gains obtained will be applicable to real life activities. So FPL really is for anyone, from young to the elder, from the healthy to the unhealthy.