Article Contents

  • 1. Bodybuilding
  • 2. Powerlifting
  • 3. Olympic weightlifting
  • 4. CrossFit
  • 5. Functional strength training
  • 6. But why?
  • 7. Mixing things up
  • 8. The benefits
  • 9. Conclusion

The term “functional strength training” gets thrown around very often in the fitness world, but I have found that the term is often greatly misunderstood, even by some fitness professionals. When some people think of functional strength training, I think they envision someone trying to balance on a fancy balance mat or ball, holding a band, and doing a yoga pose all at the same time. Functional strength training does not actually require fancy complex movements; in fact, it is just the opposite of that. In this article, I am going to break down what the different modalities of strength training are and then explain what functional strength training is and why I recommend it for just about everyone, especially the bowling population.

Strength training includes a very broad umbrella of training methods from bodyweight exercises to Olympic weightlifting. Let’s break down some of these methods of strength training and what they entail.


Bodybuilding-style workouts are what I most commonly see people doing at the gym. These workouts often involve upper and lower body splits, because the main component of bodybuilding is high-volume hypertrophy training. This means there are many sets and reps done to train the same region of the body to build muscle mass and size. Bodybuilding often uses many isolation exercises, which are movements that work very specific muscle groups. These types of movements contrast with compound movements, which work multiple muscle groups and stabilizing muscles all at the same time.

In case you couldn’t guess, bodybuilding programs were designed for actual bodybuilders looking to compete in shows. Since the main goal is purely aesthetic, many people starting out in the gym gravitate to these programs because, more often than not, they have a goal of looking better and seeing more muscle definition. While that is a nice positive to bodybuilding, the downfall is that it really doesn’t ...

Already a premium member? Click here to log in.

Heather Sterner

About Heather Sterner

Heather is an NSCA-certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Functional Strength Coach, and a Licensed Massage Therapist. She has a Master's in Kinesiology (Exercise Science). Heather is a former collegiate bowler for Robert Morris University and assistant coach for the University of Central Missouri. She currently works with athletes of all sports and has recently launched BowlFIT, a website with training programs for bowlers. Heather is also the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for SUNY Brockport.