There are movements that mimic patterns that are used in everyday life. For example:
Squatting is standing from a seated position, and deadlifting is picking any object off the ground. Should Press is putting an object on a shelf, and a pull-up is pulling yourself up and over an object.
Courtesy of CrossFit inc.
Functional movements involve multiple joints, and are therefore considered ‘compound movements’. Whereas non functional movements are generally single jointed isolation movements, which always have no equivalent movement in nature. Movements such as the ‘biceps curl’, ‘leg extension’, and the infamous ‘Pec Dec’ are non functional movements. Non functional movements can create imbalances, and should only be prescribed for recovery from specific injuries. You will NOT find these exercises used in CrossFit.
Functional movements are perfectly in balance with your body’s mechanics,and are therefore safe. Functional movements also produce a high neuroendocrine response. This means that the body is able to positively adapt to the exercise.