Functional Training Can Make You Strong.

20th April 2015

Functional training is used for fitness and strength training, however, it is also often used to retrain patients with compensations from previous injury, and those at risk of injury. Functional training or rehabilitation uses interventions that are designed to incorporate task and context specific practice in areas meaningful to each individual, with an overall goal of functional independence. Thus, functional rehabilitation is targeted towards an individual’s personal limitations and goals.

Functional Training and Sport

Functional training, if performed correctly, leads to better joint mobility and stability, as well as more efficient motor patterns. Improving these factors improves sport technique and performance, and decreases the potential for a sporting injury. These benefits arise through the emphasis on the body’s natural ability to move in six degrees of freedom, without restricting movements to a single plane of motion. Single plane body motion (as is sometimes used in machine-based gym work outs), is an unnatural form of movement which may potentially lead to faulty movement patterns and therefore injury.

How I Benefit from Functional Training

The influence of my education and career in physiotherapy and sports rehabilitation has driven me to apply functional training to my personal fitness and strength training regimen. Along with increasing my fitness goals and improving my physical strength, I aim at using my body to its maximum potential – I have found that functional training allows me to achieve this.
When structuring my training programs and planning my personal fitness and strength goals I consider all the potential methods of using multiple planes whilst, most importantly, using correct technique. I initially focus on optimising my technique using body weight, which I progress by increasing external load when I feel my technique is ready for a challenge.

I have uploaded videos of recent upper body exercises I have been working on in my recent functional training regimen, so you can get a glimpse of the training method.

How my Patients Benefit from Functional Training

As a physiotherapist and specialist in sports rehabilitation, when treating and rehabilitating my patients, I constantly consider the functional capabilities of the human body. When assessing patients I instantly consider what their sport/functional activity is, what their body must be able to achieve and withstand, and what their individual goals are. Once these factors are identified, along with analysing movement patterns and possible risk of injury, I am able to put together an individualised functional rehabilitation program which will be progressed accordingly. This program must promote healing, encourage optimal technique and reduce risk of future injuries.

Is Functional Training Suitable for you?

Functional training is suitable for anybody wanting to achieve efficient motor patterns, optimise sports techniques and minimise risk of injury. Functional training and rehabilitation may be adapted to your specific aches, pains and injuries too if delivered by a professional and experienced individual.

For further questions and information contact me at

Pull-Ups using a Resistance Band for Support.

By using a resistance band to reduce my body weight I am able to expend more energy correcting my technique. With pull ups, it is important that your form is correct in order to prevent straining the neck muscles. Some things to consider when doing pull-ups:
– Keep chin tucked in
– Look straight ahead
– Ensure your shoulders don’t roll forward or hunch up
– Keep back and legs straight
– Engage your core and activate your gluteal muscles

Push-Ups using a Resistance Band for Support.

Using a resistance band for push-ups reduces joint and muscle loading. This means that control and form can be the focus of the exercise. The resistance band ensures that the lower back does not extend in order to compensate for lack of strength during the push-up phase of the exercise. Some things to consider when doing push-ups:
– Keep chin tucked in and neck straight
– Have your hands slightly wider than shoulder width
– Ensure your shoulders don’t protract forward
– Try to keep your elbows tucked in (this reduces excess pressure on the shoulders)
– Spread your fingers and push your hands firmly into the ground (this reduces excess pressure on the wrists)
– Engage you core and activate your gluteal muscles
– Ensure your hips don’t drop and your back does not extend
– Activate all your leg muscles by pushing the toes into the ground firmly

Author – Jordane Zammit Tabona BSc. MSc. Physiotherapist

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