Functional fitness is the type of training that focuses on moving your muscles optimally, opposed to other types of training that may be more about the aesthetics of building muscle mass. Building functional strength assists you in your everyday activities as the seven core principles of functional training are; hinge, plank, push, pull, squat, lunge and rotation movements, make up the basis of all human movement.
As well as making moving in your everyday life easier, functional training helps to improve your balance, joint stability, overall strength, core strength, and reduce your risk of injury. Instead of moving your body in repetitive patterns at a set range of motion, most functional workouts use multi-joint exercises that involve your knees, wrists, hips, elbows, shoulders and spine, which all build strength in multiple movement patterns and improve your ROM in the most practical way.
With all these benefits to functional fitness, there’s no wonder you’ve seen a surge of functional fitness workouts appearing on your feed, and now you’re itching to put your burpee endurance to the test. The workouts are saved, the gym session is in the diary, but what should you wear for your next functional workout?
Functional workout outfits aren’t a far cry from your usual gym getup, but there a few more things to consider when choosing your functional fitness gear.
To make things easier for you, we’ve collated some tips on choosing your functional fitness gear as well as styling inspo for functional workout outfits for men and women.
You don't have to give up your favourite sport or heavy weightlifting sessions to train functionally, no you could actually build a hybrid training program into your schedule to improve both strength and endurance at the same time, here's everything you need to know.
Tips For Choosing Your Functional Fitness Gear
Expect to be moving more dynamically in a functional workout, and while you’ll still be pushing, pulling and lifting, you might also be jumping and stretching a lot more too, so you want your clothing to cater to that extra range of motion you’ll be putting those joints through.
Consider your movement patterns
Functional fitness is all about moving the body through movements that replicate the ones you’d be doing in everyday life - think lifting heavy boxes off the floor when you’re moving out or pushing your bike up the hill when it’s got a flat tyre. The aim of functional workouts is to help strengthen the parts of the body that aid these movement patterns, making something like reaching for a box on the highest shelf in your house a whole lot easier.
So, before choosing your functional fitness gear, consider your movement patterns. For instance, if you know you’re planning to move your upper body through a large range of motion doing exercises like hangs, ball slams, Turkish get ups, or clean and snatches, you’ll want to wear something that doesn’t restrict the shoulder joint and armpit area so you can move your arms around easily.
What exercises will you be doing?
It’s important to note that functional workouts can include more plyometric movements and floor space than your typical strength workout. So beside a barbell, dumbbells, and kettlebells, you may be getting friendly with a lot more equipment in your gym. Make sure you know what equipment you need before beginning your workout so your prepped and ready to go when you step foot in the gym.
Here’s a list of exercises you could expect to see in a functional workout that require equipment outside the free weights zone;
What’s the location of your workout?
What you wear for your workout largely depends on where you’ll be working out. If your location of choice for your functional fitness session is an indoor space like a gym or studio, the gear you need will likely differ from an outdoor workout where you need to prepare for the weather conditions and make sure you have all the right accessories and equipment. If you’re training outside you’ll want to bring some equipment with you unless you’re doing a bodyweight workout.
Must Pack Accessories For Your Functional Workouts
Accessories like bands and a jump rope will come in handy to pack in your holdall, and you might want to pack some lightweight layers if it’s chilly outside too. Alternatively, gym workouts have the benefit of having more equipment needed for your functional training, and you won’t have to worry about preparing for the elements either. If you’re lucky enough, your gym may even have functional fitness classes you can join with your membership!
Check your gym the next time you’re there for this list of our must-pack accessories for your functional workouts;
Assisted Pull-Up Bands
Find out more on the benefits of wrist wraps, lifting straps and lifting gloves in this article so that you know which accessory is best for your training goals.
6 Outfits For Your Functional Workouts
Functional fitness is all about training your body in an optimal way to improve how your body functions every day. If that’s your philosophy on training, you’ll likely want the same from your workout clothes too - pieces that allow you to move freely and support your daily fitness goals. With that in mind, here’s 6 outfits for your functional workouts to keep you looking good, and moving efficiently.
Functional fitness is all about combining power and endurance, and there’s no workout that hits all areas quite like Olympic Lifting. For this style of exercise you want clothes that are form-fitting and lightweight to allow you to move at a fast speed with ease. Our Vital Seamless Shorts are an all-rounder for every sport, with a ribbed-high waist to keep you secure, and paired with the breathable design of the lightweight Bandeau Sports Bra, they make the ideal pairing for functional workouts.
For movements like conventional deadlifts where the dreaded bruised shins may be your pain point, an extra layer between your skin and the bar can go a long way in terms of comfortability. The Vital Seamless Leggings are made to train hard and perform well, with sweat-wicking tech and a supportive fit that allow you to keep your head in the game. We’d pair these bottoms with our Sweat Seamless Longline Sports Bra engineered using our buttery soft premium DYNMC™️ fabric for a comfy and breathable fit so you can put your endurance to the test.
Reaching, and squatting are fundamental movements to functional fitness workouts, and when you’re performing exercises like ball slams or wall balls, you’ll want an outfit that can move with you, and keep you secure as you give it all. With medium support and a body fit, the Ruched Training Bra provides security and style with it’s attractive ruched design, while the Pocket Shorts are made from a high-stretch fabric so you can hit every rep.
Functional workouts are often full-body workouts, and chances are you’ll be working up quite the sweat. That’s why your go-to for workout clothes should be made from lightweight moisture-wicking materials to keep you cool and free from distractions. Look no further than Apex T-Shirt, which features built-in anti-odour technology and anti-microbial properties. Pair the Arrival Slim 5” Shorts over the Element Baselayer Shorts so you can move in every direction whilst feeling supported.
Planning a heavy upper-body functional fitness workout? Then you might want to opt for no-sleeves at all so your arms are free to move without any limitations of fabric. With the Arrival Tank you’ll benefit from sweat-wicking tech in a lightweight sleeveless design that enables maximum movement and exertion. When you’re doing functional training, wearing clothing that allow you the utmost freedom of movement should be your first choice, which makes the Sport 5” 2-in-1 Shorts a great option, as the extra layer provides a little bit more comfort and support for your training sessions.
Apex is our go-to collection if you want that second-skin featherweight feel to your workout clothes. Light to the touch and packed full of performance-enhancing tech, Apex is the collection you should reach for for your function fitness workouts. Whether you’re performing a farmers carry, or KB swings, you’ll feel confident and comfortable in Apex, so you can move with focus and determination. Combine the Apex Seamless T-Shirt and Apex 5” Shorts with the Element Baselayer Shorts for an extra layer of protection as you perform those bear crawls…
Since you’re reading this article on functional workouts, your priority for your training is likely improving how your muscles move. In this case then you’ll want to ensure your strength is balanced so you can lift heavier without weak spots… this is where unilateral training comes in, and you can find out more about this style of training this article on the 6 best unilateral back exercises for strength and symmetry.
Want to stay in the loop with all the Gymshark newness? Sign up to the Gymshark Newsletter below... we'll provide you with exclusive info about upcoming events (both IRL and URL), new product releases, and conditioning tips and tricks before anyone else.