Boyle (1) defines Functional Training (FT) as training that teaches the athlete to control his own body and its mass in motion. The goal is to create the basis for body control, regardless of whether the training is designed for a sport, therapy or everyday stress. Functional training thus differs significantly from sport-specific training, which imitates movements from the respective sport.

Lange et. al. (2) describe in their article on maximizing the success of Pilates and Pilates-inspired training methods three main factors for the success of these training methods in improving functionality:

1. Trainers encourage independent control of new movement patterns without constant input.

2. The goal is to transfer the coordinative patterns and improved sensory perception from training to everyday life.

3. To achieve this, training is conducted in consciously arranged sequences.

Functional training should therefore not only be a pure completion of exercises, but requires that the trainee consciously carries out movements, learns to perceive even small changes and to react to them. Only in this way can correct unconscious movement control develop over time. This is exactly what Pilates training does - involving breathing and all senses, not muscles are trained but movements are learned. The stability has a strong influence on the functionality of movements. In this context Boyle (1) defines 3 main muscle groups: Deep trunk muscles, hip abductors and rotators and the stabilizers of the shoulder blade. The neuromuscular control of exactly these "muscle groups" is particularly important in Pilates training with the support of the equipment. 

1: M. Boyle „New functional trainingfor sports“, human kinetics 2016

2: Claudia Lange,Viswanath Unnithan, Elizabeth Larkam, Paula M. Latta: Maximizing the bene®ts of Pilates-inspired exercise for learning functional motor skills / Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2000) 4(2)

Michael Brunner, sports teacher, educator Polestar Pilates