Introduction to Functional Training

Traditional health clubs typically have a lot of weight machines, cable apparatuses, free weights and cardio equipment to enhance your overall workout performance. Consider for a moment entering into a traditional health club and finding that the weight machines were missing – no more boring circuit machines. Would you be frustrated and lost? Or would you try to figure out if there was another way to maintain your fitness level without utilizing those weight machines?

It is possible to lose weight, gain strength and muscle as well as develop balance and coordination by training your body in a more mindful and functional way. You can incorporate exercises that work simultaneous muscle groups and use your own body weight, which in turn helps your body perform daily activities with agility and ease. This way of thinking and training is not a new concept, but for beginners it might be challenging. Once you start applying it to your regular routine and mixing it up frequently, your body will become stronger and you may also feel better about yourself.

On a personal note, in the last decade, I have cut back on most of the weight machines in my own workouts. When training my clients many still enjoy traditional weight machines, so I teach them the importance of balancing traditional machines and functional training. Still, many of my clients fully embrace the functional training philosophy and see it as highly effective when done correctly and consistently. By far, functional training can serve to improve overall performance. Here are a few basic functional exercises that you can incorporate into your existing workouts to get you started. Once you have mastered the basic version of an exercise you will be able to do other variations.


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Robert Chalukian, NASM CPT, is a Personal Trainer at The Clubs at Charles River Park. He can be reached at

2 Responses to “Introduction to Functional Training”

  1. Anka Wilk says:

    Nice article Robert! Another favorite body weight exercise I like to do is the invert row:

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