When most people think of functional training, images of people over head squatting on top of stability balls come to mind. The idea is that training on an unstable surface while holding miscellaneous objects for resistance, prepare the body for anything life can throw at it. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In the simplest sense, functional training is anything that improves the performance of the individual, in whatever task they are training for. This could be an increased vertical jump for a volleyball player or a pain-free lower back for a carpenter. Often times, the training itself only loosely resembles the speed or joint actions required to be successful for the particular task. The only prerequisite for anything to be considered functional is whether or not it actually improves the parameters that are valued for that given person. If they do – functional. If they do not – not functional.