“When am I ever going to need to actually flip a tire?!” 

“Can’t we just do some sit-ups?”

“I have to hang on that bar for how long?” 

Gone are the days of chasing a six-pack purely for aesthetics. Functional training has become increasingly popular for a very good reason: it helps you live your best life. While the idea of functional training is simple to grasp, its application is anything but. 

 Training Smarter, Living Longer

Functional training is less about outward appearance and more about physical performance. In Durango, residents aren’t strangers to the outdoors. In fact, aside from getting into quality shape, many Durangoans seek out functional training as a tool to increase their performance out on the trails, slopes, and rock crevices.

Engaging in static barbell holds, for example, translates to increased grip strength while bouldering. Flipping a tire translates to flipping an overturned fifteen-foot raft. Sandbag carries translate to greater core strength while backpacking. All of these movements prepare the body for the unpredictable — something that is, ironically, predictable when dealing with mother nature.

But, What About Weightlifting?

Advocates for functional training do not shun weightlifting. In fact, proper functional training should incorporate weightlifting. However, it should not be one’s main focus unless he or she is purposely prioritizing lifting for a competition or to simply meet a specific, personalized goal. 

If you have the ability to squat 300 pounds, but find yourself winded while walking up a flight of stairs, adding functional training into your programming is beneficial for a variety of reasons (heart health being one). 

“Iron Horse, Here I Come!”

Jungle Gym member Krista is the perfect example of what functional training can do for you outside of the gym. She took to Coal Bank Pass recently for a ride before heading into work. After sticking with our programming for five weeks, she was able to shave a full hour off of her time. 

Think about how long an hour is. That is no small feat. Functional training allowed Krista to break through a barrier that she didn’t even know existed. Accomplishments like this show the real, raw power behind utilizing functional movements within the gym. The personal nature of functional training allows individuals to train for their sport or activity of choice; even if it’s to simply keep up with the kids. 

Instead of forcing yourself to do another workout that @LookAtHowSkinnyIAm88 on Instagram  says you should do, give functional training a go. What goals outside of weight loss do you want to achieve this year? What activities do you want to participate in? To excel in? You will likely find that by focusing on biking faster, climbing higher, or running longer, you will also reap the rewards externally. Functional training prepares you for the trails while still allowing you to reach certain aesthetic goals. It is, in layman’s terms, the best way to have your protein cookie and eat it too.