Functional Fitness as a Way to Bring the World's Athletes Together in Sport


What is commonly referred to as ‘Functional Fitness’ involves a series of movements that condition a person’s muscles, joints, and ligaments to work together in a way that prepares the human body for everyday tasks. The exercises involved tend to replicate common bodily activities done at home, work, or even while participating in sports. The dead lift is an example of a functional fitness exercise because it trains the muscles used when you pick up an object from the floor. As a result of the growth in this unique fitness area, numerous national and international competitions (CrossFit, Hyroxs, NFG Fitfest, Tribal Clash) have been established to tests athletes’ proficiency across a variety of movement patterns, activities, and energy systems. Athletes competing in these various contests must show their competency in several skill areas including demonstrations of aerobic capacity, strength, endurance, mixed modal capacity, and power. But how does an athlete qualify to compete in one or more of these competitions? What skill level is necessary to be part of the experience? From which countries do these athletes reside, or is it primarily U.S. athletes who compete? Are the competitions equitable when it comes to both men and women competing? By focusing on the CrossFit Open, CrossFit Regional Competitions, and the CrossFit Games, this paper attempts to answer these questions while also demonstrating that various forms of ‘Functional Fitness’ and ‘Functional Fitness’ competitions are a way to bring both professional and recreational athletes together in sport.


Robert Romano
Assistant Professor, Sport Management, St. John's University, New York, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Sport and Health


Functional Fitness, Health, International Competitions

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