What is Functional Training?

Crossfit dip ring group workout at gym dipping in a row exercise
In the last 10 years the so-called „functional training” has gained huge popularity. More and more gyms now have separate functional areas which isn’t that surprising when we consider that millions of people in the world have chosen this type of training.

Tell me, why do you exercise? Unless you’re an elite athlete, then your goal is probably to be as healthy as possible and do everyday activities with ease and without any pain. Functional training is designed to help you achive this.

Functional training isn’t a new concept; it’s been around since time began. In today’s society the majority of us are a lot less active than our ancestors were. We sit at computers, we sit when we travel and we sit on our couches at night watching the TV. This is a fairly new thing for our bodies because it was „designed” to make many movements on a daily basis, ranging from walking, running, jumping, lifting, twisting and turning. Most people today do not utilise their bodies to their true potential because they don’t do half of what it’s actually capable of!

Functional training is a way of exercising that helps us practice the type of movements we perform on a daily basis. It trains our bodies for everyday activities. Conventional training methods work specific, isolated muscles – think of a dumbbell concentration curl which works the biceps. That’s not a movement we do every day in real life!

Functional training on the other hand makes you practice movements that work multiple muscles and multiple joints. These movements simulate real life situations much better. For example, when you reach up to get a book from the shelf, you’re working at least 3-4 muscle groups while you turn around, lift your arm, grab the book and lower your arm.

For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair or pick up low objects. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform better and more efficient in a variety of common situations.

The basic principles of functional training

  1. Train complex movements, not muscles.
  2. The movements should be compound, multi-joint and utilize the whole body.
  3. The emphasis is not only on muscle strength but also on mobility, flexibility and balance.
  4. The exercises should be varied, providing mental and physical challenges.

The benefits of functional training

For decades, people believed that in order to gain strength, you have to isolate the muscles and lift as heavy as possible. Functional training uses a different approach because it looks at the human body as a whole and considers strength only one part of the equation. With functional training, you can gain more:

  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Coordination

Thanks to the complex nature of functional training, you get a lot of benefits:

  • Prevention and/or correction of bad posture caused by sitting 7-8 hours or more a day
  • Stronger, leaner and more aesthetic body
  • Constant activation of the core which leads to super strong abdominal and back muscles
  • No more plateaus! Your body is challenged in new and exciting ways during every training session
  • Better concentration! Functional exercises improve circulation and the mind-muscle connection
  • Better coordination which is important in all areas of life
  • Better flexibility, mobility
  • Fantastic fat burning effect

Team workout with kettlebells at fitness gym

In conclusion, functional training is an excellent training method because it not only gives you a strong, lean and muscular look but also prepares you for the challenges of everyday life.

The history of kettlebells

„The amount of things you can do with a kettlebell is unsurpassed by any other training equipment – dumbbells, resistance machines, free weights.” – Laird Hamilton

kettlebellhistory1 The kettlebell (girya in Russian) is a traditional Russian training equipment. It is a cast-iron or cast steel weight that resembles a cannonball with a handle. Archaeological records show evidence that kettlebells were used by Greek athletes and gladiators thousands of years ago.

Kettlebells were originally used as a counter balance to weigh grain in Russia during the 1700s. It is said that these farmers became stronger and found them useful for showing off their strength during festivals. The popularity of kettlebells increased very quickly and soon competitions grew around their use to show strength and agility.

From 1870 to 1880, Russian Dr. Vladislav Kraevsky, who is considered the founder of heavy athletics, travelled through Europe gathering information about physical culture and sports. His goal was to find new ways to improve health, well-being and physical education. Upon returning to Russia, the doctor introduced the new training tool to the Russian athletic community. It was August 10, 1885, when Kraevsky, opened the first weight training hall, marking the date as the birth of weightlifting in Russia.

Early in the 20th century, physical culturists, strong men and circus performers from around the world; such as Arthur Saxon, Edgar Mueller and Eugene Sandow, trained with kettlebells, introducing kettlebells to a wider audience outside of Russia. Meanwhile, kettlebells continued to flourish in their place of origin. Training with kettlebells became common practice for people in rural areas, the military and Olympic athletes. By 1974 it had been officially declared the ethnic sport of Russia and in 1985 the First National Championship of the USSR was held in Lipetsk, Russia.

Pavel Tsatouline, former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, is credited with popularizing the kettlebell in the West. Tsatsouline moved to overseas in 1998 and introduced kettlebells to the USA. It’s no surprise that he is commonly referred to as „modern king of kettlebells”.

In 2001, Pavel Tsatsouline established the RKC certification, training qualified kettlebell instructors. The use of kettlebells began to spread like wildfire. From average people to celebrities, everybody started to train with kettlebells to achieve strong, muscular and functional bodies. Sylvester Stallone, Lance Armstrong, Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey and Gerard Butler – these are just a few names who used kettlebells.

One of the main reasons for the popularity of kettlebells is that it goes back to the basics: it offers functional training utilizing the whole body. One of its benefits is that it allows for dynamic ballistic exercises because a kettlebell’s center of mass is 6 to 8 inches from the handle, and changes depending on the exercise. Even when doing the most basic workout, you’re using all the major muscle groups simultaneously – arms, back, core, legs. It’s no wonder that the image of a kettlebell became an inseparable part of Crossfit.

Waterbell opens a new chapter in the history of kettlebells and functional training in general. Due to all the expertise put into its lengthy development process, it has all the benefits of the traditional kettlebells and much more!

The benefits of Waterbell Training

  • Functional strength
  • It is safe – for all ages, abilities and fitness experience levels
  • The weight is adjustable to your liking
  • Good for the heart and circulation
  • Easy on the joints and actually makes them stronger
  • Helps you lose weight and burn fat quickly
  • Works all the muscles in your body
  • Helps correcting bad posture, strengthens the spine and back muscles
  • Because the filling moves around inside the Waterbell, it works your stabilizing muscles, joints and ligaments in a uniqe way
  • Perfectly supplements training for any type of sports
  • A versatile equipment that never gets boring
  • It can improve your concentration and mental focus
  • Due to its ergonomic design it is easy on the wrist and forearm
  • Portable so you can easily take it with you to train anywhere


Exercise Videos

You can do every single kettlebell exercise with the Waterbell – there are literally hundreds of options to choose from! The Waterbell fits perfectly into a funcional training program: it works every muscle of the body and helps to increase strength, endurance, flexibility, stability and speed.

  1. Waterbell Swing

  2. Waterbell American Swing

  3. Waterbell Goblet Squat

  4. Waterbell Push Press

  5. Waterbell Sumo Deadlift High Pull

  6. One Arm Waterbell Row

  7. Waterbell Push Up