4 Functional Training Qualifications for Personal Trainers

May 2, 2019

By Tim Saye

In our article on S&C qualifications, we discussed some of the strength and conditioning courses available in the UK, US, Canada and Australia to aspiring coaches who want to improve the quality of the service you offer clients.

Functional training refers to a kind of S&C where coaches help clients develop strength in movements that they use for a specific purpose.

Coaches can use functional training to help their clients do practically anything, from generating a more powerful golf swing to becoming a better MMA fighter. But in most cases, functional training helps coaches improve the quality of life for clients who want to stay fit, strong, and injury free for as long as possible.

In this article, we’re going to look at four functional training qualifications. For each qualification, we’ll discuss the course and the benefits you'll be able to offer clients once completed.

We have listed three courses below from each of the main areas from which our PT Distinction members operate, and probably one of the most popular international courses you can take from anywhere in the world. Let’s dig in.

Functional Training Course by Physical Solutions – UK

Physical Solutions’ functional training course is designed to help you learn how to help your clients move their bodies efficiently in all three planes of motion, learn all the theory behind functional movement and training, understand the benefits of functional training in injury prevention and rehab, learn the concepts of mobility, stability, balance, strength, speed and power and how functional training can help enhance performance.

The course will provide you with the knowledge and plenty of practical experience, so you will be able to:

- Devise a training plan that is designed to individual abilities while progressively helps the client to become stronger a stay functionally independent
- Train clients how to move in relation to gravity and retention forces
- Help clients improve their balance and proprioception
- Coach clients how to load and unload the body
- Teach clients how to manage momentum
- Teach clients how to load and unload the body.

Functional Training Course by ACE Fitness – US

We have already touched base on this course provided by ACE Fitness in our previous S&C article on US, Australia and Canada based courses. The purpose of the ACE Fitness functional training course is to help you get your clients moving in more natural and efficient ways.

The ACE Fitness programme teaches you that although movement is generally beneficial, some forms of motion can be harmful.

ACE Fitness says that trainers can use their course to help clients in the following way:

- Better understand the body and how it should move
- Teach clients functional movement techniques to enable them to move more efficiently
- Give clients an understanding of how to move without pain or risk of injury
- Teach clients appropriate exercise progressions so that they don’t do too much, too soon

MFT Program by The Functional Training Institute - Australia

The FTI MTF (or Master Functional Trainer) Program is a course that aims to help coaches develop a range of skills related to functional training.

Becoming a functional trainer at Level 1 involves being able to instruct people on the correct use of kettlebells, power bags, battling ropes, functional mobility, and suspended fitness equipment. FTI offers level 1 functional trainer as a standalone qualification, providing excellent flexibility.

If you want to become a functional trainer at Level 2, then you’ll need to do a 3-day, intensive face-to-face course where you’ll discuss more advanced aspects of the functional training process, such as programming, client screening, and mindset coaching.

Finally, the FTI offers the level 3 Master Functional Trainer programme. It’s a combined course, both online and a three-day face-to-face workshop.

By taking the course, you’ll be able to help your clients in many ways; You can make training more enjoyable and varied for clients, help them improve their quality of life and to learn complex movements in a series of easy-to-learn steps that will translate into their day-today life.

TRX Academy

TRX is a maker of specialist gym equipment, including suspended functional strength apparatus. The company has opened its own academy intending to teach coaches how to use its products for maximum effect.

While the TRX headquarters are in California, US, they have affiliate course providers across the globe and distribute their products to 50+ countries.

TRX offers several courses. Not surprisingly, most of them are based around its suspension training system. You will learn how to use the system and incorporate it into your clients’ functional training plans and circuits.

The Advanced Group Training course, for instance, teaches coaches:

- How to help clients move using TRX suspension training systems
- Ensure that people are in the correct position when using the equipment and correct posture faults
- Deliver personalised training, even within group settings
- Show clients how TRX principles can be applied to other training situations
- Develop functional strength using TRX systems.

If you don’t want to attend the full TRX Advanced Group Training course, there are a variety of smaller qualification from which you can choose.

The TRX Suspension Training course, for instance, comes it at around half the price. Once you have learned the principles of the TRX system, you can help clients in the following ways:

- Correct errors in body position
- Make adjustments based on individual client needs and injuries
- Tailor exercises to different levels of fitness

TRX is a very popular equipment used by big box chain gyms and independent smaller ones alike, not to mention it’s fairly easy to carry around so even trainers who run outdoors group sessions use them regularly.

While you may not want to pay the premium price for the brand itself, you and your clients can still benefit from including some form of suspension training in their routine, so learning how to use it the correct way should pay off on the long term.

Wrapping Up

Wherever you're based accessing functional training education is easy and not too pricey. It can prove to be a great investment both in time and money so you can help your clients stay functionally independent for longer.