Functional Training Zones

Scaling Function

by Todd Wright, Director of Strength & Conditioning – Men's Basketball
The University of Texas at Austin and Chris Braden, General Manager
Train 4 The Game

You are a professional that has a desire to improve upon your skill set as well as sharpen the means by which you deliver your hard-earned knowledge.  This is evidenced simply by the fact that you chose to open an article in which you hope will shed new light on a particular topic.  You have this desire to become better because you care about your clients.  You understand that your success is dependent upon theirs and that you require the ability to deliver solutions that they need.  You know that consistently finding these solutions for your clients is the only way you will create value and have a legitimate, sustainable business. 

Question:  Where do these solutions lie?

Answer:  Within function...but what is function really? 

Solutions are found within function because it is by definition individual as well as task specific.  So if you are designing programs towards those two ends, then you are likely producing an environment where many of your clients are realizing almost all of their goals.  But as you already know, the only problem with this scenario is that the words “many” and “almost” are just good enough performance levels to put you out of business.

Most likely, due to your demonstrated desire to become better, you have at some point embarked on the journey to truly learn function.  However, like many others you may have found the initial complexity a bit daunting and found yourself weighing the expenditure of precious resources like time and energy against the unknown value of such knowledge.

We at Train 4 The Game understand this journey well, as we are still on it and have been for the previous 18 years.  We understand this is a road not to be traveled alone and have experienced the priceless assistance that a well-trained guide can provide.  We also understand the immense value that this type of knowledge is capable of delivering to both you and your clients.

Knowledge of true function is capable of bringing value but must be put into practice in order to deliver functionally driven solutions.  Admittedly, this can be tricky and is another stop in the road that keeps many people from being able to utilize what they have learned.  They may have learned enough chain reaction biomechanics to feel comfortable utilizing their new skills in a one on one setting, but have not grasped the most effective way to do so in a multi-person environment.

At Train 4 The Game, we operate a business and understand that you cannot afford to experiment with your livelihood.  We understand that there are only two ways to make more money in training – charging more and/or training a greater number of clients per hour.  At first glance this truth of business might seem incongruent with the definition of function.  How can we deliver functional (individual and task-specific) training programs in multi person sessions without sacrificing effectiveness?

We also understand there are only two ways to train more clients – train more clients in an hour yourself and/or have other coaches that work for you.   Assuming we are working at our self-defined capacity, how do we utilize our new knowledge and create functionally driven solutions in a scalable manner?  That is, how can you be certain a client that you personally did not work with today received the same level of training that you would have delivered?

The answer is simply programming.  Programming for function requires a knowledge base but just as importantly requires a system in which the following variables are considered:

- Facility flow
- Workout flow
- Balance of movement selection and modalities
- Completeness of fascial trains addressed
- Optimum utilization of training enhancements (tweaks) to ensure that all qualities of a well trained functional sphere are present
- Measurable tracking
- Staff utilization
- Congruency of the training system with your charge model
- Utilization of a common nomenclature that is expandable and consistent across staff
- Easily delivered to & replicable by the consumer
- Creates results for the entirety of your clientele.