Functional Training: What is it?

Functional Training may be one of the most overused and least understood terms in the history of physical conditioning.  Quite frankly,  it does sound quite impressive, but what in the world is functional training?  Simply stated, functional training is training the body for the purpose of enhancing a specific activity. Tennis specific functional training  focuses on the muscles, movements, and energy systems that are specific to tennis. The majority of a functional training program focuses on the training of movements similar to the sporting acivity.  Performing exercises that isolate the training of a specific muscle and are not functional generally have no place in a fitness training for tennis program. 

In the following video by trainer Todd Norman of Cutting Edge Sports Training, demonstrates one good example of a functional for tennis exercise. This is exactly the type of fitness training for tennis that creates real results that you can see on the court.  The following will explain why this would be considered a functional training for tennis exercise.

1)Simulating the forehand and backand strokes by throwing a 2lb-8lb medicine ball  is great for strengthening the  rotational power for tennis.  The player should focus on staying low duing the throws and bending the knees. (not the waist)  

2)Player in this video is working on agility (changing direction from one cone to the other cone) and quickness (taking fast feet steps around the cone)

3)Repeated sets of this drill can also enhance cardiovascular conditioning because it simulates the time of a long point

4)Using a heart rate monitor would further enhance the benefit of this drill. One could write down their heart rate just after completion of the drill and then write down their heart rate after a 25-90 second recovey rate. (recovery time depends on conditioning of athlete and may be changed over time)

5) Since this type of drill focuses on several tennis necessary muscle groups, intensity tends to be high      

6)Performing beteen 2 and no more than 5 sets of this drill would be the norm for this and any exercises used in a fitness training for tennis program

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