Wikipedia defines, Functional Training as:
“Functional training involves mainly weight bearing activities targeted at core muscles of the abdomen and lower back. Most fitness facilities (GLOBO GYMS) have a variety of weight training machines which target and isolate specific muscles. As a result the movements do not necessarily bear any relationship to the movements people make in their regular activities or sports. Functional training attempts to adapt or develop exercises which allow individuals to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries”
Who really cares if you can lay down on a machine and leg press an elephant? A better question of fitness would be whether or not you can overhead squat your own bodyweight, for example.
A lot of lip service is given to “core strength” these days with lots of fancy balls and half balls (i.e. Bosu Balls) out there. But, if you cannot maintain your midline by keeping your spine neutral in a variety of functional positions… you lack “core strength.”
If increased core strength is your goal, death-by-sit up likely isn’t the best way to get there. The overhead squat, for example, is the mecca of core exercises. The difference between what you can front squat and what you can overhead squat is a direct measurement of your true core strenth.
Taken from: San Francisco CrossFit