Functional Training Protocol

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I'm looking for a good functional training routine. I know the word functional is relative and different depending on who you ask. I currently lift 3x a week, one compound movement reverse pyramid style. I have a physically demanding job so I don't do much cardio. I get on my road bike whenever I can. I was thinking I'll get the supple leopard book but am looking at something like Tacfit. Would love any advice, knowledge, experience. My goal is to not only look good but feel good and be the best me I can. I want to be ripped, but functional. Thanks All!



  • edited July 2013

    i'm unsure if you just want a recipe/template, or an overall 'functional protocol', but i'll give you my approach to the latter (as you say, 'functional' is relative.  I like to think that my approach is extremely well-rounded, but of course these things just fit myself and my circumstances, so while they're 'functional' for me in an overall way, they're not the best functional approach for, say, the obese woman down the street from me)


    I do not think any individual 'routine'/recipe can be 'functional'; rather, function comes from proper implementation of many disciplines of 'training' - stretching, running, resistance training, etc etc etc.  Further, there is no way your training will do much for your function w/o the proper requisites of nutrition/sleep/lifestyle/etc.  But insofar as the actual 'workouts'/sessions, I find a great deal of 'balance' among, and great functional benefit from, a combination of running, resistance training, and yoga-ish stretch-work.  Here's why- 


    running- while I much prefer biking (and do), it's more of a recreational thing to me.  I fail to see how any training protocol can be complete w/o (varying intensities of)running.  While you may burn as many/more calories doing (biking, swimming, etc), there's something inherently 'functional' about training your primary means of locomotion.  Better stride/gait while walking, and posture in general, are simple results from a proper running regimen (i try to get out there e/o day, usually doing somewhere between 2 and 3miles; I walk maybe 20% of it, typically walk/run/walk/jog/walk/jog/walk/jog/walk/run type of thing as feels appropriate at the time)


    resistance training- our daily lives (hopefully) give us a decent amount of general movement, and w/ some basic jogging we're satisfactorily covering basic aerobic and basic slow-twitch(typeI) muscle fiber stimulation.  Now for 'real' muscle, or typeIIa and b (the 'fast twitch' fibers, the ones that fatigue quickly, let you lift hard/fast, and work w/o oxygen / aren't too dependent on your cardiov.conditioning).  We need more resistance to train these, typically a 'rough figure' is a weight that you can only contract against for <15 repetitions before failure.  Now, all resistance training is not created equal WRT function; not even close.  As a general rule of thumb, aim to keep your movements all compound (pullups, not curls; bench, not flyes; squats, not leg-extn.s), and use freeweights over machines.  Personally, I've been a huge fan of working with boulders hte past few months.  I see the unevenness as more 'practical'/'real', and I do lots of work emphasizing proper form (box squats, good mornings, and cleans are the moves I do the most); there's zero doubt that learning proper squat form (particularly getting to the point where box-squats are 2nd nature to you) carries over to better posture for most people, just from a mechanical POV.  Clearly, the strengthened hips/core contribute a lot as well.  


    'yoga' - I use quotes on it because I don't do 'spiritual' yoga.  I do some odd, personal hybrid of dynamic+static stretching.  I don't pray to buddha or whoever, but I am aware of 'mindfulness based meditation''s demonstrable benefits, and do try to work in an angle above/beyond the flexion of my muscles/fascia/joints.  




    Those are the 3 main areas my training takes me, and 'functional' is very much the crux of how I approach training (after which I consider 'efficiency' and enjoyment, though TBH 'enjoyment' is very subjective and we tend to enjoy things we know are beneficial - I very much enjoy my routine, even though it wasn't designed for recreation in that sense; I squeeze-in recreational stuff, like biking, as time/energy allows).  I find that my combo very much translates into great function, and I notice a lot of carryover from one aspect of it to the next, and from its entirety to my daily life.  A couple other things I find important, not quite training but very relevant here, are being conscious of my breathing and my posture (standing, walking, sitting).  


    Sorry for the long-windedness there, it's just rare I get a chance to mention this type of stuff IRL, and you left your op very open-ended ;)  There's my functional training protocol, and for an athletic person like myself, it's giving me all the function I sought; IF I were obese, I'd need more lung function, and the protocol would be tailored to acknowledge that; when I was in uni, I liked to do work on the cardio bag, I think it increased my confidence, knowing how to strike properly - a decade later, such training would be functionally-irrelevant to me, and only good insofar as the cardio it offered.  I guess my point is to just decide as accurately as you can what functional benefits are ideal to you, and then craft from that.  And, no, I don't spend all day training, I work all this into my days in quite a seemless manner actually; remember that, say in teh area of resistance training, there are very efficient ways of training, and that most people wayyy overdo volume anyways.  Most people's individual disciplines of 'training' suck, and they seldom have any concept of an overall approach/protocol.  W/ some thought and guidance, it's incredible how effective a 4-5hr weekly commitment can be!

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