just reading the first three or four posts I found an important detail missing which might bring "functional" to its knees. rofl. I say 'missing' because I think Coach Sommers may have forgotten to mention this in relation to his story.
In Coach Sommers' story there are two physical people from two different specific skill fields and not professionals. Neither requires marathon running or swimming, and most likely the 250lb guy doesn't run and maybe not the gymnast. They entangle themselves in a challenge and the little guy comes out on top. How in the hell does a person, who believes he trains soley for strength and power, lose to someone who trains to just move his bodyweight around some rings and a string boarded mat? I can only guess a little more effective conditioning on the gymnast's part.
The learning pyramid for a gymnast starts heavily on conditioning for body mastery before they even touch specific training. Where as specfic training is the only thing most weight trainers may do. For example, my first day in the gym my dad told me to squat. But besides squatting, how else can I improve the squat. Well from reading the numerous, informative articles by the Homies of Westside I know what I can do now. Some of the best darn conditioning articles for specfic skill events like weight training, weightlifting, and powerlifting.
Using myself as an example- I trained in a number of strength sports since 86. When I trained in bjj and judo in 98 my butt got kicked by the gymnastic type of conditioning, but I've been working with weights so many years. So besides putting in more time doing the conditioning learned in class, I hung out at a gymnastic gym two properties up from a house I was renting and took part in their conditioning in the adult skills class in exchange for an able bodied adult to help in their youth classes.
Lifting weights did not have a faster, more effective crossover than the gymnastic conditioning. BUT I think the gymnastic condtioning couldn't take all the credit of the crossover since I had trained raw leg power, raw pulling power, grip strength, and raw pushing power from weight training and weightlifting. Add that to rugby season and conditioning and it seemed like a complete package. The point being that weight training didn't make gymnastic conditioning easier compared to the other way around. Oh and my skills performance and conditioning excelled in both bjj and judo, as well as performance in the "outside" world.
Do I think gymnasts are the best functionally then? Nope. Just part of a total program. With such base level of conditioning combined with the base conditioning for a football player (any position since I believe all football players should be trained the same hard way otherwise you'll have a weak link on the team) and a base conditioning for a strongman, etc could go a long way. Since most conditioning is universal amongst groupings of particular activities then there isn't much more to add is there?
I do find it disturbing that a harsh statement was made saying that gymnastic training would do nothing for a football player. Does the person know how to do gymnastics because they've done it? Nope. I know of a NFL lineman that trained in tai chi to improve his skills on the field. Now talk about an internal experience of not being a srength sport. Looking at gymnasts they are shorter than the average football player, and they don't receive the same skill training. But give them the specific skill training and you have a gymnast that can play football. Take a football player and put him into gymnastics conditioning will you end up with a 5'4" football player who used to be 6'2"? That football player may have learned how to use even more of himself to better his on field performance. BUT he will still have to train his specfic skills.
I don't think there has been a better sport that can prepare an individual for more other sports than gymnastics.
There are flaws and discrepancies in all specific activities as far as their conditioning, including gymnastics. And wish that someone freely distributes a fully encompassing conditioning program that can be uniform to apply to all activities/sports with just a lack in specific skill training. I regularly train in CrossFit since it's the closest to what I want from a basic conditioning program. Specific skills change with whatever I am into that given period (martial arts, basketball, rugby, football, golf, bowling, powerlifting, etc).
I always felt "functional strength" as another commercial fancy pants way of saying GPP, SPP, and conditioning.
Like Westside kinda goes, no basic level of conditioning then what's the use?