My son Alex is starting off his career as a Strength and Conditioning Trainer. He just graduated from URI (University of Rhode Island) and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise. I am so proud of him and his ability to think for himself not to just go with the mainstream.
Here is his take on Function vs Strength: “It’s been debated over and over again. Most stick with one side or another. This is a problem because they’re basically the same thing! Look, squatting to depth is a functional exercise no ifs, ands, or but(t)s about it. You can focus on strength by adding a heavy external load, take away or lighten the load and you are working on the functional squatting pattern. I know functional training is more complex than one movement pattern, as well as strength training, but when we combine these two modes of training we can make the most progress.”
He is absolutely right. We squat every day when we sit. In China you often find people squatting, reading the newspaper while they wait for the bus. It is a function of longevity. If done correctly there is little risk to the knees in fact it is a part of maintaining health knees. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong all encourage daily squatting practice.