Functional Strength Training Part 2: Putting it into Practice

March 22, 2018 admin No comments exist

Part 1 covered information about functional training and its components.

This all sounds great, but where do I begin? First, make of list at the functional tools you have available to you. Begin by introducing FST into your warm up exercises.Then integrate them into your lower intensity sets, before making them the primary exercises.

Use free-standing, total-body exercises that train movements not muscles. Exercises like all forms of squats, lunges, step-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, standing pushing exercises, standing pulling exercises, Olympic lifts, medicine-ball throws, plyometrics, and similar exercises are ideal for developing athletic strength/power.

8 Great Functional Exercises For Triathletes

  1. Single leg squat (with or without a balance board)
  2. Stability ball push up – feet are on the floor, and hands are on the ball.
  3. Split squat – rear foot on a 12-18 inch box, front foot 4-6 feet in front of box.(balance board can be used under front foot).
  4. Horizontal cable row on stability ball – seated on ball, pull bar attached to cable at shoulder height. Cable stays parallel to the floor, and squeeze shoulder blades together.
  5. Overhead squat – hold a barbell overhead with elbows locked and complete a squat with perfect form.
  6. Single arm dumbbell snatch – this variation of the Olympic lift will enhance full body strength and shoulder stability.
  7. Single leg cable row – standing on the left leg grasp a low cable with the right hand. Completes a row pulling the hand toward the shoulder while maintaining balance.
  8. Curl press  – With dumbbells, complete a curl movement. With hands at shoulder level do an overhead press to complete one rep. Return to start and repeat.

Reps and Sets

So just how many sets and reps of each exercise are required for optimal benefit? If you are training for maximal strength, which is advisable during the foundation or base phase of training, aim for a range of 2 to 3 sets of 3 – 8 repetitions per set.

Power training will require less weight than strength. This is to allow for maximal-speed of movement, and high nervous system involvement. To avoid nervous system fatigue, 5-6 reps per set, for 2-4 sets is recommended.

Muscle endurance requires a much higher rep range per set, but with less sets. One to two sets are all that is needed since the reps can be as few as 15 or as many as 100 reps per set.

To be a more successful athlete you need to make sure that you have adequate joint mobility, which leads to better joint stability and then to better overall strength. You are only as strong as your weakest link so for a lot of athletes, the key to getting stronger and fitter is actually in improving mobility and stability so that you can move more efficiently and get into better joint alignment. Through the use functional training, you can expect to continuously increase your power, strength and stability for years to come. The only limits are your own creativity and desire to improve as an athlete.


Bio:  Lorrie Beck

Lorrie Beck is the founder and head coach of Lorrie Beck Coaching/YBFit. She is uniquely experienced and trained to coach you to success. A lifelong runner turned triathlete Lorrie is passionate about multi-sports and health and fitness. She has competed in a multitude of National and World Championships place in the top of her age group. She has been an All American for a number of years for both the Triathlon & Duathlon. She has been coaching multi-sport athletes for 10 years. She knows what it takes; she loves the competition, and friendships of the multi-sport community. She is a USAT certified coach & official and fitness coach. She is passionate about working with athletes of all levels who want to improve their skills, performances and overall health and fitness. As a coach Lorrie takes the holistic approach to training: training not just the physical body but also the mental/emotional aspect as well as nutritional and life style balance. 

Lorrie is dedicated to empowering and inspiring women and a few cool men to change and transform their relationship with food and their body: to stop the yo-yo dieting; deprivation and restriction; to facilitate disconnection from emotional and stress eating; to achieve lasting weight loss and to learn to love their bodies while creating a life they love, desire and crave.

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