Although 'functional training' has been a buzzword in the fitness industry for several years, experts think we'll see an emphasis on a more personalized side of this style of training. "Functional training is not necessarily a new trend but is more of a continually growing trend as the general public becomes more aware of the benefits it has to their everyday activities," says Josh Proch, co-owner of Defined Fitness in Wexford, Penn. "A few years ago, [functional training] was way outside of the box of what most gym goers were used to. Today however, that's not so. They are seeing other people doing things with conditioning ropes, flipping tires, and bodyweight exercises, and they want to do they same."
The difference, Proch says, will be the shift towards personalization to help prevent the higher injury rate that high intensity, generalized functional training (such as exercises used in some boot camps and Crossfit programs) can cause when performed by someone that isn't ready to handle it. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, fitness professionals will provide functional movement screenings first for clients in order to assess their current movement patterns, and then an appropriate fitness program will be designed, Proch says. "It's still functional-training based, but it's designed for the client's current level."