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Functional Carry Over - Applying it to Personal Training


A lot of articles include the words "functional carry-over". What exactly does this mean and how can I apply this to my clients arm workout?


First, let’s define function. Function is a living being’s ability to execute a particular kind of performance in any given way or capacity. The meaning of carry-over is self-explanatory. The amount of carry-over from a resistance training program depends on the transfer specificity between the training program and the goal. For example, if your goal is to help Mrs. Jones with household duties you would design a program that strengthens the patterns useful for her goal.

To apply this understanding to an arm workout let us take into consideration the standing cable biceps curl exercise (1). Standing while performing shoulder flexion and extension during the exercise (arm curl) will have a greater transfer carry-over to every day household duties than a seated isolated biceps machine curl (2) where the shoulders are less active due to the outside assistance provided by the pad. Furthermore, the typical user pivots around the armrest, lifting more weight due to outside support (arm rest), not individual strength. Although both of these exercises increase strength of the anterior arm musculature, there is greater similarity of biomechanical movements and muscle recruitment patterns in the standing biceps curl exercise than the seated isolated biceps exercise. The result is a greater functional carry-over (transfer) to everyday life.

1. Standing "free motion" curl 2. Seated isolation curl