There are many characteristics of functional movements that CrossFit athletes and trainers can use to discern functional from non-functional movements.
Functional movements should be natural movements not only seen in a gym.
How often do you see someone doing lateral raises outside their local 24 hour gym? Probably never.
Unlike isolated movements, you are required to use functional movements for everyday life.
When you pick a package up off the front porch, that’s a deadlift.
When you are putting your groceries away on the top shelf, that’s a press.
And when you are getting out of a chair (or off the toilet), That’s a squat.
These movements are found everywhere in human behavior and are used in everyday life.