#24: What’s the Difference between Functional Training and Bodybuilding

#24: What’s the Difference between Functional Training and Bodybuilding

Although functional training and bodybuilding are commonly pitted against one another, they can actually work in tandem. No training regimen is universal. Landing on the right type of training and fitness routine really depends on your fitness goals. Whether those goals incorporate both functional training and bodybuilding, or one or the other, understanding their differences can help you create a fitness routine that’s personalized and tailored to your body’s needs.


This article dives into the differences between functional training and bodybuilding to uncover the benefits of both types of workouts.


Functional training focuses on improving your ability through activities that involve movement.


Functional training combines 2 or more movements at a time, engaging multiple muscle groups. For example, swimming requires you to coordinate the movement of your arms and legs simultaneously. The freestyle stroke engages nearly all parts of the body including the chest, arms, legs, shoulders, upper back and neck to maintain a constant freestyle motion. Swimming wouldn’t be possible if only one muscle group was working alone. Various muscle groups rely on one another to carry out specific movements.


Functional training is perfect for athletes because it focuses on improving agility and performance. This is where electrical muscle stimulation comes in. Electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS, can give your functional training workouts a boost, helping to improve your muscular performance across several domains: strength, explosive strength, strength endurance, muscle endurance and resistance.


If you’re a professional athlete, personal trainer or fitness enthusiast, you’re likely already engaging in functional training through your chosen sport. Even so, you can be more mindful about how you train to maximize your workouts by targeting the different muscle groups you use while playing your sport. Use electric muscle stimulation to help improve muscle strength, overcome performance plateaus and increase muscle endurance.


With correct and consistent use of EMS devices like PowerDot, you’ll start to notice these improvements and more including an increased ability to run faster; jump higher and swing, sprint or swim with greater precision. That’s because functional training helps link muscle groups so that the body performs as optimally as possible as a unit, rather than simply working one part of the body at a time. Functional training also helps decrease your chances of getting injured provided that you wear the proper protective gear and keep in good form.


Additional benefits of functional training include:


  • Improved posture and balance
  • Improved mobility and range of motion
  • Increased coordination and flexibility


Now let’s look at bodybuilding, which can either stand on its own or even complement functional training.


Bodybuilding focuses on one specific muscle through repeated workouts.


Bodybuilding, by contrast, does not focus on increasing agility, muscle performance or overall endurance to perform various movements. Instead, bodybuilding concentrates on individual muscles or muscle groups, and builds strength and muscle mass through repeated motion (i.e., reps). Reps are far more controlled and isolated, which helps stimulate muscle growth. The goal in bodybuilding and weight training is to increase muscle mass; often this leads to rapid weight loss.


Bodybuilding and weight training exercises are concentrated, targeting specific muscles or muscle groups as opposed to improving a movement or range of motion as with functional training. In this case, you can still benefit from electrical muscle stimulation--it just looks a little different.


Electric muscle stimulation, when paired with bodybuilding workouts, helps improve muscle strength and tone. Bodybuilding workouts often focus on pushing, pressing and pulling, which are the perfect conditions for leveraging EMS to build strength. Set your PowerDot to the strength program between or after strength training workouts, up to 3 times a week per muscle group.


Additional benefits of bodybuilding include:


  • Build lean muscle mass
  • Reduced risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity
  • Better bone health


Now that you can differentiate between functional training and bodybuilding, and the benefits that both have to offer, you might find that alternating between the two over the course of the week is a good balance between a full body workout and concentrated strength training. The best part is that you can easily incorporate electrical muscle stimulation into both styles of fitness training to help maximize your results.


You’ve amped up your workout routine. But do you know how to speed up your recovery? Learn more about how to use EMS technology for optimal muscle recovery.

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