Functional training has become a popular workout option in recent years. Focusing on movements and exercises that mimic the activities in your daily life, this training style helps improve your overall mobility – a key aspect of your wellbeing at every age. So much so, that you’ll always find functional training spaces in our Aspria clubs – indoors or outdoors – if you are aiming for a comprehensive workout. But what is the difference between individual functional training and circuit-based functional training? Here’s what you need to know.
What is functional training?
Quite simply, functional training is a type of workout that prepares your body to perform better in daily life situations. Unlike many other training styles that focus on specific muscle groups, functional training emphasises movements and exercises that involve several muscles at once. These are natural movements such as pushing, pulling, lifting, turning, running and jumping.
What are the benefits of functional training?
Functional training offers many benefits for people of all fitness levels:
Functional exercises strengthen the muscles that are used in daily life, making it easier to carry out everyday tasks with less risk of injury.
Development of endurance:
Functional training focuses on improving muscular and cardiovascular endurance, so you can carry out activities for longer without tiring.
Functional movements help to improve flexibility and joint mobility, which can reduce muscle and joint pain and improve posture.
Improved coordination and balance:
By focusing on complex movements involving several muscle groups, functional training improves coordination and balance, which can reduce the risk of falls and other injuries.
Individual or circuit functional training?
Functional training is quite versatile – you have the option to either work out on your own or join a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) circuit. While the overall physical benefits are the same no matter which option you choose, the different approaches can provide specific advantages.
In individual functional training, an instructor or Personal Trainer designs a tailored programme based on your specific needs. This allows you to focus on the areas that need particular improvement, while also receiving helpful guidance towards the correct form and technique.
Whether accompanied by a coach or carried out on your own, this routine will involve squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, burpees and twists. These exercises can be done using your body weight but also equipment such as a TRX, resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, benches, steps or skipping ropes. It's fun and effective!
As for the circuit format, you may be familiar with the concept of CrossFit. CrossFit is distinguished by its philosophy of General Physical Preparation (GPP), which means that participants train to be ready for any type of physical challenge, whether it's a specific sporting activity, a daily task or even an emergency situation. CrossFit training sessions are designed to be varied and unpredictable, testing the body's ability to adapt and perform in different conditions.
In our clubs, we favour a more accessible version of functional training in the form of a HIIT circuit. In small groups, participants perform a series of high-intensity functional exercises with little recovery time between each exercise. HIIT circuits are timed, adding an element of healthy competition. Working out in a group certainly provides extra motivation and this maximises the effectiveness of the training in a short space of time.
Our recommendation is to choose the approach that best suits your needs and goals, and start maximising your potential today. Explore all the functional training possibilities at our Aspria clubs in Brussels or contact a member of our team for more details.