Should I train traditionally or functionally?

Both. Most people associate exercising with a traditional approach including barbells, dumbbells, and weight machines. Traditional use of this equipment is beneficial for establishing a program to increase baseline strength. Currently, people are growing more familiar with functional training which directs your exercise selection based on your lifestyle. Functional training is training that makes your day to day activates more enjoyable or easier to perform. Luckily, these two ideas are not mutually exclusive. You can train for functionality using traditional exercise equipment and movement patterns. Regardless of the type of training you decide to do, it is important to establish a consistent flexibility routine to ensure your muscles are at the proper length and your joints are able to move optimally. Regular static stretching helps ensure that your joints are moving optimally and reduces your risk of injury.

Functional training is becoming more popular and I encourage all workout enthusiasts to explore it.  Traditional resistance and cardio training is a great way to workout, but somewhat incomplete.  Functional training has more application to everyday movements in work, sport & life.  Your functional training program should include ground based positions (i.e. standing cable row) involve the total body (i.e. squat to overhead press) and require you to move in all directions (i.e. 4 way lunge with a reach).

As a trainer I get this question a lot.  Many people want to know how to train and what they should be using to see the results they are looking for.  The answer is you should train in different modalities.  It is always good to switch things up so your body doesn't adapt to your workout routines.  So you can workout traditionally one week and then next week train functionally.  Bottom line try to change things up on a regular basis so your body will continually work hard and never adapt.

Functional training is a training base that is beneficial for everyone. Functional training is one of the first steps to conditioning the body and preparing it for more challenging training movements. 

Traditional training is a little more advanced. The two can be integrated into one program as a progression when the trainee’s ability allows.  
Traditional training can be more advanced but integrating the more basic moves helps to support the big movers and can add to a trainee's strength and stability, resulting in a safer and more effective training program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.