Functional strength training

Synonyms in the broadest sense

  • Age-oriented strength training
  • Health Training
  • Age sport
  • Health-oriented fitness training

The steady growth of the older population and scientific studies are causing the importance of sport in old age to increasingly come into the focus of sports science. The steadily growing demand and the interest of the future older generation in countless sports activities is already proving to be a lucrative market of the future. Many fitness studios have already reacted in the field of personal training and changed their concepts from pure strength training to functional, age-oriented strength training in the field of prevention and rehabilitation.

More and more back schools and numerous concepts for special strength training with functional backgrounds are emerging. However, not all established methods are proving to be useful. The target group of functional strength training is predominantly older people.

While in younger athletes it is primarily the pure muscle build-up that promotes the motivation for strength training, strength training is increasingly viewed from a functional point of view with increasing age. Furthermore, strength training is used in rehabilitation to enable the athlete to participate in everyday life. Here too, strength training is placed in a functional context.


As can be seen from the target group, the individual goals of functional strength training can be of different kinds. In preventive geriatric sports, the development of the support and holding muscles is in the foreground. This includes above all abdominal muscles and back muscles, as well as gluteal muscles and front thigh muscles. Through adequate strength training with the appropriate methods, we try to strain the human musculature in such a way that everyday movements can be carried out without any problems up to old age.

Adaptation symptoms

Through targeted functional strength training, a number of positive adaptation effects on the organism are achieved. Among the most important are. and since the latest studies:

  • Improvement of the cardiovascular system
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Prevention of arteriosclerosis
  • Prevention of osteoporosis
  • Burning body fat
  • Muscle Growth
  • Stabilization of the joints
  • Improvement of the psychological well-being
  • Positive effects on mental abilities

important:Pain and injuries of the musculature are often quickly recognizable and mostly of only short duration (muscle ache).

The musculature can regenerate faster and injuries of the musculature come in most cases rather suddenly. The situation is different for problems in the area of the tissue surrounding the muscle. Injuries to the joint apparatus etc.

usually occur over a very long period of time and are gradual, so they are hardly noticeable. Regeneration also takes much longer. Many sports providers and health concepts do not pay attention to this phenomenon and concentrate only on the positive effects of muscle building in order to eliminate problems in the area of the joints.

Functional strength training always involves exercises that require several muscle groups at the same time. Thus, greater success is achieved with less training effort. It also promotes intermuscular coordination (interaction of several muscle groups).

An exercise like the calf lifter is therefore not a useful exercise for functional strength training. The exercises should always be considered in relation to everyday movement. Example: The front thigh muscle takes over the function of stretching in the knee joint and bending in the hip joint.

In everyday life, however, the muscle is needed for flexion in the hip joint. Therefore, the muscle must be trained with exercises that require flexion in the hip joint. These are for example leg presses and knee bends.

The leg extensor is not suitable. In functional strength training, a distinction is made between action and fixation muscles. Fixation muscles are muscle groups that perform a predominantly holding, static task.

These muscles mainly include the straight abdominal muscles and deep, long back muscles. They should therefore also be statically (holding) loaded during weight training. The greatest dangers during strength training are caused by damage to the connective and supporting tissue (bones, ligaments, tendons, joints, cartilage).

Functional strength training is therefore always gentle on the support and connective tissue. This means no high and fast loads and no exaggerated hyperextension movements.In functional strength training, the priority is on “gentle methods” Why these gentle methods? Strength training with intensities from 70-80 % has negative effects on the cardiovascular system.

The blood supply to the muscles is reduced and the blood pressure rises. The heart muscle needs more oxygen. Shortly before the muscle is exhausted, the blood pressure is at its highest.

From a metabolic point of view (metabolism), muscle-exhaustive loads lead to activation of the anaerobic metabolism and provoke high lactate values. This has a negative effect on muscle elasticity, joint metabolism and the immune system. High loads during training also lead to risks of muscle injury and loss of motivation due to unpleasant sensations.

Within a training unit, only the most important exercises are integrated so that a maximum of success is achieved with a minimum of effort. Between 15 and 18 repetitions are performed on each machine at low to maximum speed. Except for the fixation muscles.

At least 2 to 3 sets should be completed on each machine. The pause length between the sets is sufficient with 45 seconds to one minute.

  • Latissimus extract
  • Bench press
  • Biceps Curl
  • Abdominal crunch static
  • Hyperextension lying static
  • Leg press
  • Iliopsoa training