Functional Training for Athletic Performance

Hi, it’s Zach from UNRIVALED Sports Performance at CLM. Summer is a great time for athletes to explore what can be done during the off-season to be better next year! One key component of training (off-season AND during season) is functional training. This applies to all athletes at any age!

By definition, functional training attempts to adapt or develop exercises to enhance an individual’s ability to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injury. When it comes to sports, common moves are performed repeatedly and usually with force. Essentially, your body is just a stack of joints that are working together (except when they’re not). You perform multi-joint movements everyday whether you realize it or not, especially in sports. The better that the joints work, and work together, the better the performance will be.

When looking at functional training as part of an athlete’s regimen, it is important to understand the different joints and how they work. Athletes need to have healthy joints particularly with respect to mobility and stability. A simple way to look at the difference between the two, mobility relates to movement as stability relates to control within that joint. Here’s a look at three common repetitive actions in some popular sports and which of the two aspects come into play for the joints involved:

  • Rotational Moves (Swings) in Baseball, Lacrosse, Hockey, and Golf
    • Hip – Mobility
    • Lumbar Spine Stability
    • Thoracic Spine Mobility
    • Scapula Stability
  • Overhead Moves (Throw/Pull) in Baseball, Golf, Football, Tennis, Swimming and Water Polo
    • Shoulder Mobility
    • Scapula Stability
    • Thoracic Spine Mobility
    • Lumbar Spine Stability
  • Bouncing Moves (Running and Jumping) in most dryland sport
    • Ankle Mobility
    • Knee Stability
    • Hip Mobility

Understanding the needs of the different primary joints and how to address them is the first step. Functional training uses multi-joint movements to help the entire body get stronger and healthier. Consider a circuit where you are performing a lot of shoulder dominated movements. You would want to add in a shoulder mobility drill to help increase range-of-motion while getting stronger. Additionally, this will speed up your recovery time so you don’t wake up feeling like you got run over by a bus. Being able to partner strength movements with proper stability and mobility drills will get your athletic performance to the next level.

This type of practical and methodical training is the heart of Unrivaled Sports Performance at Club La Maison. We are committed to building the total athlete by training consistently, sensibly, and systematically to improve athletic performance, increase confidence, and reduce the occurrence of athletic injuries. We will also explore factors such as body composition, muscular strength, flexibility, and endurance and use them to design a tailored, multi-phased program designed to have direct impact on the athlete’s game-time performance. Click here to learn more about the program.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have about functional training or improving your (or your child’s) athletic performance while protecting against sports injuries! It is my passion and I am happy to discuss it with you!