Phases of Functional Movement and Resistance Training

Functional movement training works multiple muscles at the same time holistically strengthening your muscles and enabling your body to function as one unit. This type of training will help to improve your movement and function in your everyday life and athletic performance. Everyone can engage in some level of functional movement training.

Resistance training is using external resistance (i.e. weights) to build strength, size, tone, and/or muscular endurance. Everyone over the age of 30 who is not engaging in resistance training is losing up to 5 pounds of lean muscle every decade. Those who do engage in resistance training can slow down or even reverse the aging process by building muscular strength and mass. It can help increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It is never too late to start resistance training, one can benefit greatly in your later years. Listed below are the 4 phases of both function movement and resistance training. The steps build upon one another, so they should be approached in sequential order.


The main purpose of this phase is to develop a solid foundation of postural stability and mobility throughout the body. This is accomplished through low-intensity training focused on improving balance, muscular endurance, core function, flexibility, and posture. This phase is essential for building a strong fitness base; without it, you are likely to develop muscular imbalances, postural issues, improper movement mechanics, and injuries. Examples of stability and mobility are a hamstring stretch and bridge.


The main purpose of this phase is to develop proper movement patterns. This training focuses on teaching and improving the 5 primary movements:

  1. Bend and lift
  2. Single-leg
  3. Pushing
  4. Pulling
  5. Rotation

Efficient movement maximizes fitness, augments activities of daily living, and minimizes injuries.


Once proper postural stability and movement patterns are developed, external loading (i.e. weights) can be added to full body movement. The main purpose of this phase could be to increase muscular endurance, definition, or strength to improve body composition, function, movement, or health. Phases 1 and 2 should be continued, preferably in the warm-up and cool-down portions of a workout. If there a long break in load training, phases 1 and 2 should be reassessed and potentially repeated before returning to load training. Examples of load training are bench press, deadlift, and bicep curls.


In this phase, the goal is to improve speed, agility, quickness, reactivity, and power. This training is for individuals with performance or competitive goals, and requires proficiency in the 3 previous phases because of the greater stress on the body. Examples of performance training are jumping, speed, and explosive exercises.


Benefits of Phase Training:

  • Improve movement
  • Decrease injury risk
  • Advance recovery
  • Break through ceilings


At OPP Fitness, we assess your strengths, areas of improvement, and goals, and then begin with the appropriate phase. We design a custom training plan for each client. The agreed-upon plan is a collaborative process that will regularly be adapted, updated, and evaluated as you grow stronger and healthier.


Jay is a high-energy, creative, challenging personal trainer. Anyone who hires him is lucky to have his enthusiasm and expertise. I strongly recommend Jay.

Lisa S, Professor