A real buzz term of the past decade has been ‘functional strength’. Basically, this term relates to strength that is directly suited for an activity you need to carry out on a regular basis.
Top-of-the-line athletes often spend a lot of time focusing on functional strength in order to make sure their training efforts are directed at making them better at their chosen sport.
If you are having difficulty getting your head around what functional strength means, think about the physiques that most people in the gym aim for.
This is NOT functional strength – mostly this is purely for looks. Trainers interested in functional strength are not worried about the image; they are worried about performance.
So how do you achieve functional strength for your chosen sport?
Basically, you will need to do exercises that simulate elements of the movements you complete in the sport.
You will gradually strengthen and improve on certain movements, and in the long run this will make you better at your sport.
For example, if you are a soccer player, you might spend a lot of time in the gym developing plyometric kicking strength and strengthening through the hips.
Soccer players require a lot of lateral movement, and this demands strong hips. To get an edge over opponents, you might build on lateral hip strength by using cable machines.
Speak to your coach, or look up specialist advice online to find out which exercises will build functional strength for your sport.