How to Program a Functional Workout
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Is your programming more stale than your favorite breakfast cereal that you forgot to close up in the pantry? Bomber mountain. In this video, I’m gonna help you freshen up your workouts by teaching you how to create a functional training program. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, please hit the subscribe button and the notification bell so you can get notified every time we post new videos about programming, functional training, assess your clients pains, and other movement training related topics. So I’ve used the following five steps I’m about to cover for the past 10 plus years to keep my training sessions fresh and fun, while effectively progressing hundreds of clients towards their goals. But I want to break down a few kinds of FAQs. First, when we’re talking about functional training, what does the term functional mean? Well, for me it it means essentially, that it’s applicable towards what you want, it’s authentic, it’s dialed in to the goal. And the process of that goal literally hits that point, every single time. It’s if I want to go swim, I’m going to swim, very functional. If I want to start writing a book, I’m gonna sit down and literally started clacking away on a keyboard. So that’s what functional means. So what is functional programming mean? Well, it’s simply kind of that right, we need to design our program to match the needs and wants of the client or athlete in front of us. So if they want to go benchpress, and get higher PR for bench press, we probably should be practicing things that resemble benchpress. Someone wants to go be better at playing on a park, because they’ll have their kids go there all the time. Well, hard programming should probably match what a park forces them to go do. Again, it sounds very simple. But I will say that functional training is for everybody. And if you’re a trainer, not providing functional training for your athlete or a client, I say, Gosh, you may be wasting their time a little bit more why Michael? Well, my client wants to look good naked and wants to be able to walk down the beach with pride and confidence. Awesome, then do functional training for that. And again, that’s what probably most of the interest is doing, actually, it’s actually training for more physique type of outcomes. Their their clients want to play better pickleball or want to go to and play, get on the wakeboard or the snowboard, or want to be able to actually just throw the baseball round with their grandchildren. But we’re training them just to be stronger at machine type lifts. Just a little consideration, a slight tangent, let’s get on with the show. So how do you start to write a functional workout? Well, step one, you got to know your clients goals, most important thing as we talked, but you got to know deep down what their wants are. And then you we have to break down and assess what their needs are. So some of their wants, right? 15 minutes, 10 minutes first session, or at least a constant conversation as you’re programming. And your sessions go with that client should always be assessing goals, because goals do change. In fact, they change often. And we’re going to be on the top tier understanding of what those things are. So we can be ready to make program adjustments. Because what the body does is what the body gets better at. So if it’s too random, if it’s just kin changes all the time, well, we’re not really going to hit a result too quickly. So we need to be able to manage that. And then I talked about the ones right that really goes after their wants. Well, step two is really conducting a movement assessment, when that really goes after their needs. And a move assessment is so critical, because if we don’t know where their body is, where their ankle is, where their knee is, how their neck and shoulder work in terms of rotating because they want to play a racquet sport better. If we don’t know the state of is or start, then it’s gonna be very, very hard for us to write a program, because we’re essentially just be guessing or hoping that what we wrote down before the session starts, literally applies. And if it doesn’t apply, then we’re thinking on our feet, which is not a bad thing, because we need to do that often. But we may be scrambling and giving a second or third rate drill. When really if we sat down for a little longer to think about it, we have to give them the right drill at the right time. And a movement assessment should do one thing. It should always start with what they can do. I don’t want to do a move assessment that only tells me what they can’t do. What does that really helped me to do when I finally put pen to paper? I’m still guessing on what they can do. I need to move assessing this as ooh, I understand where their starting point of successes. Because with that, and with only that you can finally say boom, this drill is a great start for them. So really think about that. And I’ll be kind of showing you and talking to you about ways to think about a movement assessment a little bit later in this video. And in fact, if you want to follow along with me for the next three steps, pause this video real quick go to the The link in the description down below where we have a free functional training program template that you can download, then we can reference it together, because it’s going to get detailed. In fact, good programming is not simple. It’s quite complicated. But we’re going to do our very best to break it down into chunks and pieces. So you can say, Oh, I see how this step fits into this step, very much like a puzzle. So step three, we got to think about what movements are related to those goals. Now remember, there’s two types of goals, right? There’s a want goal and they you they tell us those those things, but then there’s a need goal. And those need goals are not necessarily more important than the ones because we’re not just talking about a robot here, we’re talking about someone who has emotions and feelings, and desires. And they need to keep that motivation high to keep coming back to train and condition. So if you think about the movements that they need to do that so an example is Caleb, let’s say they want to do triathlons or another example is they want to do gardening. Or maybe another example is they want to do bench press, right? Kind of kind of cut all the ways of thinking about it, right? So if they want to do from physique building bench press, to activities of daily living gardening to a sport triathlon, we need to again start with what can they do already, because we have to start there. And we have to think about, what are the movements that go with those global patterns? So, there’s a lot of things to consider, and we’ll go into those in a little bit. But okay, traveling last really three things that’s really running, biking and swimming. Okay. Not in that order. And then gardening. Gosh, what’s what’s garden? Well, let me think about gardening. Okay, well, maybe down low, I may be underneath bushes, I may be, I may be shoveling I may be grabbing a bag and throwing things around. But I’m definitely going to be kind of all over the place. I’ll be high, I’ll be low. I’ll be reaching this will be reaching that way. It’s like, okay, wait a minute. Gardening is pretty complicated. That’s a pretty complicated sport. Hey, what about a benchpress? I’m gonna give you a PR and benchpress. Well, that’s actually very, very simple. I’m laying on my back, I got to push a bar or dumbbells away from me in a straight line. Okay, actually, that’s pretty simple to kind of consider what all the patterns are. But step three, what movements are related to those goals. And then step four, is breaking down those movements into trainable exercises. Because it’s not just about doing more bench press to get better at bench press, you’re going to essentially burn out the systems that make that possible. It’s not just about getting in a pool and swimming more to be better at swimming. Yes, it’s very important to do those things. But again, we can’t always be in a pool, we can’t always be in a bench press setting. So what do we do we break into other trainable exercises that are functional, closely related to that task, that get get us closer to it without actually doing it? Because typically, we overtrain. If we just do the same thing over and over again, runners are a huge example of this. Most runners run too much. And they don’t apply the other functional subsets of running into their training and conditioning program. And they overdo it. So again, this would be a great time to reference your programming template that you just downloaded, as I’m going to go over some of the primary and secondary considerations for breaking down movements into their parts, or their trainable exercises. So let’s jump into the primary things I think you really have to start with. Gotta start with the big picture. And those are the physiological strategies that really kind of set up how the body biologically works. So the more we understand the physiological abilities of our body, right building strength, building speed, building endurance, and coordination, and agility, and power, right, we understand like, how does the body actually do that? Like, what are the what are the mechanisms that actually produce that result? Well, in our first primary strategy, we have to think about okay, well, what is the goal requiring? Well, if it’s requiring benchpress PR was certainly going to require more strength, but it’s not going to require much, much agility at all, actually. So we can probably kind of push those different drills or different ways of thinking off to the side. We’re thinking about triathlon. Gosh, well, that definitely produces power definitely produces endurance definitely produces some sort of agility like in the water at last time, I did a triathlon, like people were all over me. I definitely had to be able to be to be agile and set myself up for success for air, so it’ll get swam over. Definitely happened. Okay, so what about gardening? I’m definitely gonna have to have endurance. Because typically garden is isn’t isn’t several hour type of event. It’s not very quick. All right. What about gardening in terms of Well, wait a minute, what
about the fundamentals? What about fundament what? What physiological strategies produce just fundamental movement patterns? Oh, but like, like being on the ground, like maybe even planking and crawling because that’s where you, that’s where you can be often. It’s like, oh, we have kids, there’s a lot of things to consider about what does the body need from a biological standpoint, to produce the results? That’s a big topic. It’s a big topic. But that’s kind of where we need need to start. The another place we need to kind of think about is, what fundamental positions are they in and we did reference that a little bit, but we’re gonna go deeper. Okay, so where am I in a pool? What position Am I in? Well, you’re actually prone, if you’re going to do freestyle swimming, okay, in a bike, while I’m actually seated and heavily flexed forward, if I’m in a triathlon. Okay, what about running? Well, I’m actually upright on that one. I’m actually upright on two feet. So I probably need to train definitely got to train prone. Definitely gonna train seated. Definitely got to train standing upright, while gardening, how you going to train those things? What fundamental positions? Are you in? Almost pretty much all of them. In a sense, right? There are some that are maybe a little bit harder to get into. But I’m going to be kneeling, be sitting and be laying down, potentially, I may even be hanging off something depending on what branch I need to get after. That’d be pretty intense gardening. Okay, and then what about for, let’s say, benchpress? Well, you’re pretty much in the same position every single time for benchpress. But that doesn’t mean you should train that way every single time. But I’m definitely going to be supine on that bench. But you can still train upright if you’re wanting to some cables. Alright, what about the actions that you’re going to be considering? For those kind of primary strategies? Well, if you follow this template, you’re gonna send us quite a few of them. And we break them down to the fundamentals, right? So if I’m running, is it running basically, a type of a lunge? And I’d say, yeah, it is, isn’t running kind of like balancing it kind of is. So you got to think about who shall be considering those global movement patterns of those actions in my training and conditioning, as I start to actually put pen to paper. Now to not spend too much on those because you can see those on the list. But I want to go down this list that this last one here, it’s the challenge level. Because we tend to overdo this one, there’s really two considerations that we think about, is it simple? Or is it complicated? Is the drill multiple different things put together to great one drill? Or is it simply just a squat? Is it grabbing onto a mix and doing a whole mace flow of spins and flips? Is that something that’s going to be very functional for that person’s outcome? Or is that too complex too soon? And in terms of the training and conditioning world, a lot of functional trainers, I think we get complex, too complex too soon. Because we want to impress, we want to not make it boring for our even ourselves. But we have to remember that where’s this person starting from? Where is their success? And what can they do first. So most approach them in the beginning should be very simple drills. And then we start to sprinkle in the complexity as your body can appropriately manage, putting multiple joint sequences and planes of motion sequences together into one cohesive, well sequence. So don’t overdo that one, too, too soon. What about the secondary considerations? Right? These are important, but really not as important as what we’ve what we first talked about. So we have to talk about what we call the X, Y and Z axis ease, right? Or motion angulations verticals, or horizontals. Right? How much am I actually changing my positioning of my body? Well, traditional training and conditioning hits the sagittal plane hard, very afford him back, very up and down, which works very well on a bike very forward and back, very up and down. But that doesn’t work very well for running, though we are moving forward, typically when we run. But running is literally a a dance, I have to say that it’s a dance of the pelvis spinning. And of the thoracic spine spinning, it’s huge rotational forces producing forward motion. And a lot of runners don’t know that they don’t train rotation very, very much, even though that’s the primary action that produces that leg reaching forward. Maybe a deep dive we can cover later. And then the horizontal so the ranges of motion. If I’m gardening, I’m going to be in close a lot. I’m going to be down low kind of in tight, maybe reaching here a little bit. I’m not going to be doing massive big swoops, you know, with a viper overhead, or am I because I’m true trimming a huge hedge. So like, oh, wow, this cash was a lot of maybe even contradictions to what I just said, because it depends on the functionality of what’s in front of us. So you can see how like it really comes back to what’s functional. Well, gardening can be huge range of motion, but typically, it may be very, very tight. So we have to take all those things into consideration. That not to rush through these last three but what body area are we work Hang on, is it full body, upper body lower lower body? What’s the rate? Am I always putting them on a clock for one minute, even though the triathlon is going to be well for hours. So we have to make sure that our timing is appropriate. Am I always saying, Hey, do 10 of this 15 of that, when in reality, we just need to say, go until you fatigue, not fail unnecessarily. But when you’re when your body starts to say, I’m getting tired of doing that. So we have to understand that our time, our rate, our reps, all matter, all matter. So as we continue to dive into this one, though, want to finish our last step on after all that we’ve been said, after all that we’ve talked about, is the workout a strength workout, or cardio workout. And that may seem like a really interesting place to stop. But I think it’s one of the most important things that we have to consider as a trainer running a functional training program, is what does the client basically understand? So the body can mentally and physically adapt to these different situations that you’re gonna be putting them in. Now we have a lot of terms for these terms are for strength, you know, and we certainly have a few that are more popular, right, like an AMRAP, or a Metcon. Right? Again, I will try not to use those terms, because they don’t know what that means. They know strength, or they know cardio, and also, their body’s going to adapt to a similar training environment quicker, the more we can say on track. Again, not saying this purely that it all has to be all strength related or or cardio related, but at least has to have a vast majority per workout, to make our adaptations sing or connect more. Because it’s not just about the adaptations that matter. It’s about them mentally feeling that a result is coming through. And for always jumping for training as to random. If it doesn’t centralize enough for long enough, you’re training for randomness. Now, randomness doesn’t really have much takeaway. There’s no really objectiveness and randomness, right? So we have to understand that if we give a cardio workout, keep it relatively mostly cardio so their body can adapt to that training. And then if it’s strength, keep it mostly strength doesn’t have to be every single workout, right, you can change it up. But try to keep their body from getting too confused. And that’s really important not only for their physical, but also for their mental and tie it into those pieces. So that’s the last step. That’s the final piece of it. And if you want to learn more about how to program functionally, so you can keep your training sessions fun and actually make changes for your clients. Please check out the multi dimensional movement coaching mentorship in this description that’s linked below. This is where we mentor coaches on how to think not just what to think about the principles of movement science, and its functional applications within the fitness industry. And if you’ve learned to just at least one thing and enjoyed this video, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and check out some of our other content in our videos. Thanks for watching. I really appreciate it. We’ll definitely see you next time.