Often associated with explosive activities of performance training for athletes, functional training is much more than just hammering out kettlebell swings and flipping gigantic truck tires.

It's best defined as results-oriented training that enhances the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL). That means it could help your clients lift their children without experiencing back pain, walk through the mall free of knee or joint discomfort, or simply get off the couch easier.

If you use those results as the central component to how you sell your services, it could mean broadening your appeal to new and existing clients. Break the mold of selling 10- or 20-session packages and help your clients see real results. It's hard for clients to see the value in 10 or 20 hours of exercise. Results-oriented training that targets specific problem areas or goals is a better way to appeal to people emotionally.

Offer functional training with these three results-oriented packages and you'll satisfy the needs of more clients across the board:

A Better Butt for Your Jeans: Just because you're selling the ultimate butt sculpt workout, that doesn't mean you spend 60 minutes every session doing glute activation lunges. Improve core strength and build muscle in the lower body with functional movements like standing medicine ball trunk rotations, stability ball Russian twists, standing cable rotations and compound exercises that boost energy expenditure while working multiple muscle groups such as stability ball knee tucks. The result will be a stronger core, which includes that firmer gluteus maximus most people want.

Stronger and Sculpted Arms: The same theory for butt packages applies to packages that tout stronger and sculpted arms. Boost muscle in the upper body with exercises like stability ball shoulder mobilizations that will give your clients the results they want, while helping them restore stability so they can lift more weight. Other exercises to incorporate include bodyweight dips, pull-ups (modified if necessary) or standing dumbbell overhead tricep extensions.

Beat the Scale: Although the name you give weight loss packages may vary with the audiences you're trying to connect with (men, women, older adults or 20-somethings), the exercises you incorporate into workouts don't have to. Promote total-body weight loss with functional exercises that work the entire body like dumbbell front squats, lunges with overhead press or overhead medicine ball slams.


Pete McCall, MS, CSCS is an Exercise Physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Learn more about functional training and how it applies to different clients at the ACE Functional Training and Assessment Workshop. New September dates and locations will be announced soon on www.ACEfitness.org/FTWorkshop.

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