Functional Vs. Traditional Resistance Training

August 27, 2013

With functional resistance training, your joints move more like they would during athletic competition compared to the isolation movements of traditional weight lifting. So which is better? Team sports athletes and weight room regulars can gain some performance insights from an analysis of these two similar but different training styles published in the Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness.

Researchers randomly assigned 38 subjects between the ages of 18 and 32 to 7 weeks of either traditional or functional resistance training. Compared to tests performed before the program began, functional resistance training produced superior improvements in flexibility while traditional weight lifting was better for developing forearm size. Improvements in squat and bench press one rep max, push ups, back extension endurance, biceps and calf size were similar between training protocols.

Add flexibility work to traditional weight training and you might nail down all of the advantages. To see what 20 weeks of variable resistance training can produce compared to constant resistance, see today's Breaking News blog at