The Functional Continuum® represents the understanding that every sound exercise fits along a spectrum. Each provides a specific challenge and adaptation/benefit that, when implemented appropriately is vital to a comprehensive exercise program. No exercise should be condemned or glorified. It is when, why, how, and with whom it is used that makes the difference.
Being biased toward one end of the Functional Continuum® has created two alarmingly common misconceptions:
Too often an exercise is chosen or developed because it resembles an activity we want to improve (sports movements, everyday activities, etc.) What we fail to recognize are all of the things we can't see within that exercise that actually make it dramatically different from the goal-activity, often to the point of becoming detrimental to performance... or even the body!
Conversely, an exercise that looks nothing like the sport or activity can provide benefit to an integral link, and while appearing totally dissimilar to the activity actually improves components that are vital to the performance.
Along the way "functional" has become the unjust condemnation of some exercises and the undeserved glorification of others.
It has been perceived that training on an unstable or "wobbly" surface is more "neurologically challenging" and therefore is best for every goal from cardio, to strength, to rehab, to any sports performance.
And some are so obsessed with it that they forget about every other way of progressing an exercise, thereby missing out on the most direct way to achieve the specific goal. They fail to realize their workouts are beginning to resemble circus acts benefiting only an extreme end of the FC (if not causing injury).
In truth, load is proportionally sacrificed as instability is increased. Understanding and appreciating the individual's goal is vital when determining which challenge should be sacrificed and which should be emphasized.
A comprehensive program would include both ends of the FC as dictated by goal and currently ability.