Corewell Health is the new name for Beaumont.

Functional training, when done by a physical therapist or occupational therapist, is a rehabilitation technique. It focuses on restoring strength and proper function of the musculoskeletal system with the goal of making it easier for patients to perform their everyday activities. Core training or strengthening may also be part of functional training since strong core muscles are critical to good posture and mobility. 

Functional training is meant to improve the activities of daily living (sometimes referred to as ADL). ADL can range from personal care activities, like showering or dressing, to housekeeping or home maintenance activities, like cleaning, putting dishes away, or doing yardwork, to activities you need to do for work. ADL varies" from person to person. While everyone has to do some of the same basic things, like getting out of bed and getting dressed, most of us have our own routines and responsibilities. And for that reason, the activities of daily living for you will not be the same as they are for your next door neighbor, your best friend, or your coworker. 

Functional training, therefore, is different for everyone. When your physical or occupational therapist is developing your functional training plan, he or she will consider the injury or condition that is limiting your physical activities, your overall health and strength, and the activities you need to do to get by in your everyday life. Your treatment plan will be customized to your injury or condition and your strengths. Your therapist will develop an exercise routine for you to address each challenge with the goal of making it easier for you to perform the activities you want to and need to perform. 

Functional training does not have to stand on its own. It can also be part of sports rehabilitation, balance training, or general orthopedic rehabilitation.

What functional really means

Many people ask what “functional” really means. In the case of functional training with a physical therapist, “functional” means being able to carry out the physical movements and duties in your daily life. Functional training involves teaching you how to safely and effectively do the activities you need to do every day. 

How functional training can improve your life

Functional training can be an important part of an overall fitness or physical therapy plan because it can help people improve balance, build strength, and increase agility. And all these things can protect you from injury as you move throughout your life. 

Functional training is a type of rehabilitation. Physical and occupational therapists train you to do exercises that are similar to the movements you need to do each day at home and at work. So, if you work in landscaping, functional training would focus on helping you strengthen your core muscles, legs, and back and showing you how to move safely during work. You might do squats to mimic the crouching you might do when reaching down to plant something or to pull weeds, and you might do stretches to keep your lower back muscles loose. You might also do core strengthening exercises to help with your posture when you’re walking around. 

If you do office work and spend a lot of time typing, and you have a wrist injury, functional training might focus on strengthening your wrists and teaching you proper hand positioning and posture. It might also involve discussions about ergonomics and how you can use devices to help you keep your hands and body in a healthy position while you work.

Functional training can be an important part of physical and occupational therapy. Regardless of your injury or health condition, the goal of functional training is to improve your health or rehabilitate your injury so you can quickly get back to all the activities you need to perform. 

Functional training and your livelihood

If you have an injury or health condition that is keeping you from doing your work or is limiting your career opportunities, functional training may help you. A physical or occupational therapist can develop a functional training routine for you that can address any concerns related to your musculoskeletal system. Functional training can help with things like:

  • Strengthening your back and legs so you can more easily lift and carry heavy weight
  • Doing squats to train the muscles that help you pick up something from the floor or get up and down from a chair
  • Increasing your stability, which can keep you balanced and protect you from falls in the workplace
  • Strengthening your core and upper body to help your posture while sitting at your desk or behind the wheel of a car or truck
  • Improving your hand strength so you can better grip objects and tools you need to use for work
  • Doing overhead lifting to help you remove and replace objects from overhead cabinets or shelves 

Strength training

Strength training is an important part of functional training for most people. It involves resistance during workouts, which is also known as resistance training. The goal of this type of training is to improve strength and endurance, increase agility, and reduce the risk of falling or injuring yourself. Strength training can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other degenerative diseases. 

Several types of strength training exercises may be incorporated into functional training, including exercises that use:

  • Resistance or tension bands
  • Your body weight (such as planks, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, sit-ups, and more)
  • Hand-held weights or free weights
  • Weight machines
  • TRX bands

To schedule a new appointment please call 248-655-3191.