Can a functional trainer deadlift?

Have you heard any of the other passive-aggressive insults from trainers who do not understand how to build an exercise and a programme?

– So are you one of those trainers that do bicep curls while standing on a Bosu?
– Are you one of those trainers that pop pills, only eats meat, lives to lift weights and has small balls?
– Hey, are you one of those Vegan Trainers that names all their movements after animals and who prays to the moon?

I am fed up of reading about what is a Functional Trainer, what is a Strength Conditioning Coach, what is an Holistic Trainer.

If you see a trainer who is amazing, then you won’t be able to tell anything about the trainer from their exercise selection, tool selection or the way the client is reacting.

Great trainers work through a system. The FASTER system is simple and shown above. 

It is probably the system, or close to the system that most Personal Trainers, Therapists, and indeed anyone in any industry should have. Essentially you identify the problem; then you do the research, then you apply the research, then you adapt to the outcomes.

Due to this, the exercise choice and the selection of workload, effort and rest will follow the research. Research-based trainers will end up with programmes that are very similar.

Some of the difference between incredible trainers will be down to their ability to use the research and the width of knowledge that they have. For example, I think a trainer should have the following skills to be able to utilise the research to its fullest –

A knowledge of

  • Motor Skill Aquisition
  • Motor Skill Application
  • Enhancing Performance criteria
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Motivation
  • Interviewing
  • Goal Setting

The practical skills to

  • See motion and the connection between bones, joints, muscles, centre of gravity and skill
  • The ability to elicit a desire to move every rep
  • Build game on the spot
  • Build story on the spot
  • Adapt to the client in front of you even if it does not follow the plan

When it goes wrong!

If it goes wrong though, then you can tell the difference between the trainers because they will be using the same or very similar exercises with all of their clients. (Obviously, do not confuse this with trainers who have very similar clients).

– Functional Trainers will use a lot of variables, off-balance training, agility training and low weights.

– Strength Conditioning Trainers will stay close to lifting, a focus on the technique and the amount of weight lifted, plus physical markers.

– Holistic Trainers will do slow end range body weight and band exercises.

Do deadlifts, lunge in three planes, pretending you are a fish and throw yourself about on the floor, as long as you meet your client’s goals scientifically.

All movement is one dimensional, made up of three coordinates
Movement is individual and task driven
Fascia is a slightly sensitive sausage skin type structure, bullied by the muscles with fewer receptors than the skin. NOT the cause and saviour of all problems in the body.
Deadlifts don’t save lives, even if you do like them.
Trainers are not doctors, scientists are nice and want to improve the world, the owners of big pharmaceutical companies are probably not lizards.