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February 16, 2016

What is True Functional Training?

by Michael Hughes

We hear all the time that workouts are functional, but rarely is it scientifically the case. Applied functional science may sound confusing, however, simply put it applies three types of scientific principles to individuals in order to create and maximize human function. These three truths, or field of facts, are: physical sciences, behavior sciences, and biological sciences. But what does that mean?

Applied Functional Science applies to three types of scientific principles to individuals in order to create and maximize human function

It means that we design each workout or movement with these three areas of knowledge in mind, so that your movements have purpose. Functional movement is driven by these three principles in order to enhance your life:

  1. The physical science aspect includes important concepts such as chemistry, our immediate environment, and especially physics: ie. gravity, ground reaction forces, mass/momentum laws etc. These facts are necessary knowledge in order to know how the body reacts to the physical boundaries of earth. The best example is the concept of gravity. Resisting gravity’s pull is something we each have to battle all day. For this reason, at Gymnazo we train in situations contrary to traditional methods. Where most training tells you to explode against gravity, in fact the deceleration of gravity is more important than the acceleration against it.
  2. Biological sciences are our most important area of knowledge. This concept consists of anatomy, physiology, human biomechanics, and neurology. In order to be able to enhance the body’s function, we must know, in detail, how each muscle works in all three planes of motion; and how each interacts with its surrounding joints, nerve endings, and neurological pathways to the brain.
  3. Behavioral sciences consist of social and cognitive sciences. There are certain ways humans respond and behave that are crucial to understanding why humans function the way we do. It is important to know the desires and drivers, both positive (such as success) and negative (such as pain, fear, and/or guilt). These innate drivers enable us to build upon our successes and fight against our failures.

Our job as coaches is to take these facts, transform them into strategies, and then create techniques to enhance your workout and your life. Studying the behavioral sciences allows us to effectively motivate, and know how to best read individuals and understand what drives them. The physical and biological principles allow us to strategically design programs that will increase optimal function, benefit your fitness, and help you live a more pain-free life.

The knowledge within these three main sciences are well known principles. Applied Functional Science takes these known facts and applies them to members and clients in order to uniquely benefit each individual’s life.

To learn more about the founders of Applied Functional Science, check out The Gray Institute.

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