5 Finishers You Should Try

“Finishers”.  If you’ve been around a bootcamp or functional group training class in the last few years you’ve more than likely heard this term.

As the name suggests, it is a final piece of programming to finish off the training session but I’m sure many clients (especially those not a part of an SGT experience) think it’s to finish them off as well!

In our gym, we typically cap off a training session with a 4-6 minute finisher (give or take) to give a final focus or energy to the group.  Oftentimes, we’ll employ bodyweight techniques, partner options, and metabolic protocols for some fitness ‘dessert’ to complement the strength focus we tend to have in the ‘main course’ of the session.

If you’re an SGT practitioner, here are a 5 challenges you may face:

-programming exercises that flow well

-programming quality pregressions and progressions

-modifications ready for someone who has a special consideration

-running out of space or equipment

-being creative so all finishers don’t look the same


Below I’ve written out “5 SGT Approved Finishers” for you to consider to use, adapt, or to stir up your brain juices for ideas that better suit your exact model.  I am making the assumption that you use the FMS and SGT models or that you are in the process of doing so.  I’ve also included 3 reasons I like the setup of each finisher.  Take note, just because its smart doesn’t mean it has to bore you to death!

Note: the first number represents work time, the second represents rest transition time.


  1. “Cardio-Core Supersets”

10/3 alternating between exercises for up to 6 rounds each.

Stn Red Light Pre Exercise Pro
1 March on Spot High Knees March Sprint on Spot Travel Side to Side in Sprint
2 Elevated Hands Front Plank or Pushup Hold Pushup Hold Front Plank 1-Leg Front Plank

*no equipment needed

*compounding effect from getting up and down

*can do anywhere

Note: Side Plank option is also fantastic!


  1. “I Go, You Go” Partner

25/5 alternating between partners for up to 6 rounds each.

Stn Red Light Pre Exercise Pro
1 Hands Elevated BurpeeVariation BurpeeFeet Walk Out BurpeeFeet Hop Out +PushupVariation

*unlimited variations to meet people where they’re at

*can get clients engaged with one another i.e. cheers and high 5s!

*can watch form and make corrections more easily (as only ½ clients are going at a time)

Note: if there’s a leftover client, make a group of 3


  1. “Bodyweight Flow”

30s back-to-back with 30s rest after 4th exercise completed

Perform 2-3 Rounds

Stn Red Light Pre Exercise Pro
1 March on Spot High Knees March Sprint On Spot Lateral Movement
2 Pushup Hold Elevated Hands Mountain Climber Mountain Climber Cross Body Mountain Climber
3 Glute Bridge Bodyweight Skier Swing Bodyweight Skier Swing KB Swing
4 Elevated Hands/Step outVariation BurpeeFeet Walk Out BurpeeFeet Hop Out 1-Arm Variation

*the red light options are very doable for beginner yet the advanced options are very challenging for a more capable client

*little to no equipment needed

*its fun!


Note: for those who want to KB swing in exercise 3:

-advise them to make weight selection based on an elevated heart rate

-take a few calm breaths and set properly before first ‘hike’

i.e. don’t just ‘grip it and rip it’ 1s after mountain climbers


  1. “Leg Burner”

20s back-to-back with 30s-60s rest after 4th exercise completed

Perform 2-3 Rounds

Stn Red Light Pre Exercise Pro
1 March on Spot High Knees March Split SquatLeft Leg Bowler Squat Left Leg
2 Pushup Hold Elevated Hands Mountain Climber Split Squat Right Leg Bowler Squat Right Leg
3 TRX Handle Assist To Box or Bench Bodyweight Squat Slow Eccentric
4 Hover Over Box or Bench with Assist TRX Handle ‘Assist’ Bodyweight SquatIsometric Hold Prisoner Arm Position

*great if you’ve had heavy upper body or grip intensive training session

*no equipment or large space requirement needed

*it gets noisy near the end (during isometric) which really helps the energy!

Note: You may have clients reluctant to use assistance. Take charge and guide them to proper variation for best range of motion and postural position for where they need, not necessarily what they want


  1. “Tabat-ish”

20/10 alternating between exercises for up to 8 rounds each.

Stn Red Light Pre Exercise Pro
1 Pushup Hold/Elevated Hands Pushup Hold Front Plank Front Plank to Pushup Hold +Pushup at Top and/or 1-Leg Option
2 Bodyweight Skier Swing Skater Step Skater Lunge Skater Jump

*compounding effect from getting up and down

*creating awareness in frontal plane

*again no equipment required!


Note: Skater type movements are not easy for most clients so make sure you personally have the movement and cues nailed down

Well, I hope you found some of these ideas useful and have a clearer picture of how you can make your finishers a little bit smarter for your group training clients.

Feel free to add your own spin on these whether changing the movements, equipment, time protocols etc. You know your clients best. We like to use these because they are simple, safe, and smart and we’ll continue to evolve our model as we continue to learn more.

To all the SGT brothers and sisters out there, this blurb on finishers is finished. Better together!

Johnny Fukumoto – SGT Advisory Board Member


The Power of Meditation, Floating, & the Parasympathetic Nervous System

I’ve always been a “balls to the wall” kind of guy. “High energy, fast paced, intense, and relentless” are some of the terms I’ve heard regularly throughout my life. AWESOME! I love the fact that my energy and enthusiasm are apparent to the people I choose to be around. I’d much rather be the life of the party, the little fireball that dominates the room, and the person that never seems to have a bad day versus being the slow, boring, careless bro who can kill the energy in a room. Merf! That’s right…I said Merf. It’s a totally made up word, but just sounds like it fits, doesn’t it?

Now, back to the topic of controlling the wild and crazy Type A’s of the world. If you’re anything like me, and you too have been classified as fast paced, high energy, and relentless, you better understand how to control this, or you’re going to be a nervous wreck. You’ll eventually experience adrenal fatigue; you’ll be irrational at times; you’ll have a short temper; your mental clarity will become foggier. Basically, if you don’t start to control the highs and lows, the yin and yang, you’ll wreak havoc on your body, specifically your nervous system. Hopefully, by the end of this thing, you’ll have a much better understanding of what the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are, and more importantly, you’ll have learned some techniques on how to create balance and harmony between the two.

Before we dive into the techniques to control the nervous system, let’s get a clear understanding of the two and how they differ. They’re pretty much the complete polar opposites of each other. If one is hot than the other is cold. If one is morning, the other is night. Check out the table below. This table will help highlight some of the differences between the two.

fight or flight

Looking at the table above, it’s pretty easy to see which nervous system dominates while we’re training. The sympathetic side, hence the nickname, the “fight or flight” nervous system is the driving force behind getting a killer workout in. Thinking about the polar opposites, it’s like trying to workout after a 90-minute massage, or smashing some weights after slamming a Redline in about 10 seconds flat. It’s not rocket science here…I’m pretty sure the person slamming the Redline prior to their workout will have a little better training session, and this is due to which nervous system is dominant at the time.

Training either nervous system will cost some energy and produce a certain amount of stress. Getting that 90 minute massage will still produce a stress response within the system, as will going for a run, hitting the weight room, or simply going for a walk. I don’t want to explain this in too much detail, but simply put…everything we do costs us some energy and produces a stress response.



Stress is stress, and there’s a price to pay for every activity we do.

The first time I heard about the currency analogy and relating stress loads to my bank account, it finally made sense. I want to briefly talk about it here, and if you’d like more info on this analogy, James Cerbie has a nice article on Eric Cressey’s blog that explains this well. If you read this article later, it will help drive home the point here. You can find that by clicking here.

Relating stress to your bank account can really help drive home this message. Think about your bank account. Have you ever incurred an overdraft fee? Many of us have, at one point in our lives. When this happened, you spent more money than you had in your account. In order to get things back in good standing, you had to add some more money into the delinquent account.

Stress and the human body are kind of the same way. You have only a certain capacity of stress that your body can handle before your account goes into the negative and is in bad standing. Your training intensity, volume, frequency, and other factors will play into your overall account tremendously. If you’re hitting it hard, you’re going to need some extra sleep and recovery time.

The training intensity, volume, and load is money out.

The rest and recovery is money in.

You’ve got to monitor stress if you want to have the best success. Having a terrible day at work can create the exact same stress response as an intense lifting session, so start thinking about all of the stresses going on with your clients, and ensure their bank account isn’t going into the negative. If it does, they’ll incur the penalties and this will start to have a negative impact on their health and performance. Again, I just wanted to briefly describe it here, and recommend checking out Cressey’s blog later to help elaborate on this very important topic.

Now that we understand that every result has a price, or a currency it’s going to cost us, it’s important to address some of the factors that contribute to the specific training adaptations we’re working for. If our bank account only has so much it can give, getting a clear picture of where our money, or energy is going is step number one. This is where we develop the plan, or the processes that we’ll be using to achieve the adaptation we’re looking for. Here are some of the factors that will drastically affect the money going in or going out:

FITT Principle:
• Frequency – How many days a week are you going to train? I usually try to keep this number the same. I may adjust what we do based on a number of variables on a given day, but the frequency is steady remains pretty constant.
• Intensity – How hard are you going to train on a given day, week, month, or training block? Using a tool like HRV can really help you dial in the appropriate level, so if you don’t know much about HRV, I suggest looking into it. The three HRV tools I have personal experience with are: Omegawave, Bioforce HRV, and Ithlete.
• Time – How long are your training sessions going to be? How long will each block of training be? When will you add de-load weeks? These are a few of the factors that I think about when designing a program. Don’t forget that high volumes can drastically affect the body’s bank account, so plan time accordingly.
• Type – I like to think of this as the specificity portion of training. What specific goals do you have? Do you want to slam-dunk a basketball? Run a faster 40? How about deadlift 500 lbs.? Each one of these programs would have a different type of training, and each program will also affect the energy stores differently.

Nutrition: This one isn’t rocket science. I’m not going to get into any specific nutrition information here, but what you put in your mouth plays a major role on your ability to adapt and achieve positive changes from your hard work and efforts. Eat like shit; get shitty results. Putting processed foods and other poor quality choices in your diet and you’ll pull money from that account. Fuel your body with things like grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, quality eggs, fruits, and veggies, and you’ll add money to your account. If you’re not getting the results you want, be sure to address this category and don’t neglect it. Let’s not try and fool ourselves thinking we can out-train a poor diet.

Sleep – This is one of the best, and most important things you can focus on to ensure you’re always working to improve the energy stores in your body and build up the bank account. Getting the right number of hours each night is a good start. If you’re not getting 7-8 hours each night, I’d recommend changing your schedule around as much as possible to make it a reality. Poor, inconsistent sleep patterns will lead to poor, inconsistent results. Be sure to address sleep, rest, and relaxation when your training load goes up. If you’re training more, your body will need to rest more. Here’s an article I wrote a while back with some tips you can use to help improve this area of your life so you can get better results. You can check it out here.

Stresses of Life – This category is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to explain in full detail, so let me get things started so you can reflect on your life and the stresses you face on a daily basis. My daily stresses are going to be different than yours, and yours will be different from the next person’s. We all have outside stresses going on in our life. Some of them are positive, and some of them are negative. Life will happen…and it will generally happen in the snap of a finger. Outside stresses are a constant. They’re not going anywhere. Unless you have some sort of protective bubble to live in, the stresses of daily life will begin to stack up. Using a tool like HRV (heart rate variability) will help show you how these stresses affect your ability to recover and adapt to your training. Since we can’t live in a protective bubble, free from stress, we better learn how to manage it properly and adapt the other stresses in our life accordingly.

Now that we know some of the factors that contribute to depleting our body’s bank account, it would be wise to discuss some of the things we can be doing proactively to help fill the bank account back up. I’m a big fan of adding these recovery strategies with our clients. Most of our clients are probably very similar. If your clients are stressed out from their work, kids, travel, or countless other variables, try to get them involved in each one of the categories listed below. These categories are designed to help melt the stress away and restore your parasympathetic side of things. They work well for me, and I’m sure if you give them a shot, they’ll work well for you too.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite methods to work on rest and relaxation:

Meditation – I’ve had tremendous success with breaking through plateaus by having people add daily meditation into their routines. Some of our clients, and ourselves, are on the go, all day long, every day of the year. When we’re in constant motion, our sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive. We have text messages dinging at us, honking cars, kids misbehaving, and life is going on around us at 1000 mph. Taking as little as 5 minutes a day to add some quiet time can provide you with outstanding results and will start to let your “fight or flight” nervous system start to calm down a bit. Many people struggle with meditation to start with, so I recommend starting with guided meditation. There are some good apps out there for free that will help with guided mediation. Start there and then progress. Eventually, you’ll be able to meditate almost anywhere, shut off the distractions going on around you, and focus solely on your breath letting your thoughts and cares dissipate for the time being. If sitting still for 5-10 minutes is challenging for you, that’s a pretty good sign that a little meditation in your life wouldn’t be a bad thing :)

Floating – If you’re unaware of what floating is, it’s something I highly recommend looking into. Basically, with floating, you’re laying in the dark, complete silence, while your body is floating on top of water. The pod or float tank you get in is filled with a heavy concentration of Epsom salt water. The salt-water concentration is so dense, it makes the body completely buoyant and floating is effortless. You can just lay back, shut everything down, and go into a deep state of rest and relaxation. Floatation tanks used to be called “sensory deprivation chambers.” This lack of stimulus is the primary benefit of floating. You also get the benefits that the Epsom salt provides, but the main reason I like floating is the fact that there is no light, no sound, no distractions, and no gravity. You can just lay there, completely lifeless, and let all your thoughts just melt away. The water is regulated to stay at your own body temperature, so your body doesn’t even have to regulate it’s own temperature. This is about as close as you can get to absolute nothingness, and it’s glorious.

Massage – Everyone reading this article probably has a good idea on what a massage can do for you. Going in for a regular massage can help keep the rest and digest system keep going strong. Professional massages and luxurious day spas are very popular and pretty mainstream. I have a few massage therapists that I recommend to clients. Referring them to the right professional is critical though. Even though they’re going in for a professional massage, they could be getting a completely different experience. I have a therapist I send clients to for structural integration, trigger point release, and other specifics that will help that individual get better. The type of massage I’m talking about here doesn’t require a bad ass in the field. Sometimes my recommendation is purely from a standpoint of getting that client to chill out and have another human being touch them. Nothing sexual here, but there’s something powerful about relaxing, shutting off the mind, and having the warmth and gentle hands of another human being touch us.

Active Recovery and Cardiac Output Workouts – Working on rest, recovery, and stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system doesn’t always have to come from taking a day off of training. It does, however, mean you’ll need to alter what you’re doing if improving parasympathetic actively is a goal of your session. One of the best things you can do to stimulate the rest and digest system is to go for a walk outside in the natural sunlight. There’s something about getting outside and soaking up all the goodness that Mother Nature has to provide…simply put, it’s just flat out good for you. Foam rolling, mobility work, light sled work, and other various low level, low heart rate, low blood pressure skill work are ideal for training your parasympathetic side. Once again, if you’re using HRV, you’ll eliminate the guesswork. If you’re on a red day, adjust your training accordingly and you’ll always keep progressing.

Hot Tubs or Saunas – Just talking about the benefit of hot tubs makes me miss mine. At my old house, I used to have one of these bad boys. There was nothing like getting into the hot tub on a frosty winter day and just chilling out. My muscle soreness would be reduced dramatically. My mood would be instantly improved. The use of hot tubs and saunas are great for rest and relaxation. I’ve almost been tempted to join the local gym near my house due to the fact that they have a hot tub. I’m surely not going there for their quality weight machines, lines of treadmills, or quality training staff. If I’m almost willing to pull the trigger on getting a local gym membership when I own one, which should tell you how much I like these luxuries.

I know that was a lot to digest, so let me give you a quick breakdown on what we just covered.
1. Most people are stressed out. Their sympathetic side overpowers their parasympathetic side. Mr. Yin kicks Mr. Yang’s ass on the regular.
2. There are a lot of variables that affect our ability to maintain homeostasis, or to keep in balance. The exercise program we’re following; the sleep we’re either getting or missing out on; the quality of the food we’re putting into our bodies on a regular basis; the kids kicking and screaming because they want ice cream. Stress is stress is stress! Did you get that? Stress is stress and we need to be aware of that.
3. If you’re not using HRV, you should. It’s the only way I know of to actually manage stress, training and non-training related.
4. Try out some of the techniques used to stimulate the parasympathetic side of things. This will help recovery, results, and enhance your ability to train tremendously. If you get good at this, you’ll be able to out-train your opponents without killing your body and mind in the process.
5. Keep studying and learning about this stuff. Learning how to create intervention strategies in and away from the gym will help you get better results with your clients…GUARANTEED!

How Changing the Environment Can Drastically Improve Performance

I just got back from a Perform Better One Day Seminar in Boston.  The weather was cold and balmy, it was snowing outside, and it sure didn’t feel like the beginning of spring.  However, the presentations and hands-on demos made the trip to the Northeast worth it.

Each presenter brought his best, and everyone did a great job.  I always love going to Perform Better events because the quality of information and presenters invited are top notch.  Nick Winkelman was one of the presenters this year, and his topic really resonated with me.  I’ve seen Nick present before, and he’s always got some good stuff up his sleeve.  Previously, I’ve seen him present on cuing and how to use minimal words to provoke a positive response we’re looking for.  What he talked about this year was similar in nature, but yet completely different.  This year he talked about how changing the environment can produce positive results without having to make one cue or say one word at all.

The presentation started off by talking about how the environment has been proven to change the rate of development and how quickly learning can take place.  Nick pointed out some research done on the development of babies and how quickly they learned to roll, crawl, kneel, stand, and walk.  Basically, in developmental kinesiology, there are certain milestones that babies will hit at specific timelines.  All babies learn to roll somewhere around 5 months.  They learn to crawl somewhere around the 7-10 month mark.

Each developmental pattern is innate and happens naturally.  These patterns aren’t taught.  They are natural to the human race and are hard wired in our brains.  As our brains develop and we explore movement, the patterns are learned naturally and within specific timeframes.  If certain milestones are not hit, it’s not that there’s something necessarily wrong, but you’d want to pay attention to other milestones and see if the child is developing to be a healthy adult.  What happens if the child develops early though?

Winkelman pointed out some research that looked at African children and their rate of development.  This research is interesting because it looked at the same race, same country, and the same people.  The only difference was choosing the environment to look at the rate of development and when babies hit milestones like sitting, standing, crawling, and walking.  Africa was a great place to look for answers.  Parts of Africa are Westernized cultures and share many similarities to what we see here in the United States, however, the other parts of Africa are a little crazier.  Snakes, Lions, Hyenas, and other critters can come from anywhere.  Tribes may have to move on a whim due to their surroundings.  Simply put, these sections of Africa are drastically different than the Westernized sections of this country.  The environment is much, much different.

The research showed us that the rate of development was slower in the Westernized portions of the country.  Why would the same people, living in the same country develop at different rates?  Why are the Westernized cultures developing a little slower?  These questions led us to believe that the Westernized cultures have different lifestyles due to the environment they live in.  We sit a lot in Westernized cultures.  We just don’t have many threats in Westernized cultures.  Basically, the non-developed cultures hit these milestones a little earlier out of necessity and survival.  It seems that the environment changed their rate of development and speed of learning.  They still learn to roll over, crawl, and stand, but they seem to pick up on things about 6 weeks earlier.

Does this work for performance?

Can the environment change the rate of learning in adults?


Let me help explain how you can change the environment without having to be chased by venomous snakes or other dangerous animals.  I’m going to give a couple specific examples, one related to speed development, and the other for motor control and learning how to perform a basic exercise without compensation.

For example number one, let’s imagine a sprinter.  The athlete coming out of their start has good overall mechanics.  They’re not reaching out in front and pulling through the sprint.  This will be the athlete who has good mechanics, but doesn’t get any power into their steps.  I’m sure you’ve seen this before.  The form and mechanics are great, but the speed isn’t quite up to par.  A couple ways we can change the environment would be to move to the sand or add something a little squishy or soft to the ground.

Think about this for a second.

Changing the environment (floor surface) can create automatic changes without one word being said.  Take that same athlete to a large sand pit or on the beach, and they’ll automatically start to learn how to push into the ground to develop power.  If they don’t, the sand will slow them down due to the softness and “give” it has.  It’s a much different surface, and sand requires more power to push through versus concrete or an indoor track.  BOOM!  Changing the running surface gives the athlete the feel of pushing through the ground for power development.  Zero cues were given.  The coach here would get significant changes without cueing them to death, and the fewer the cues generally, the easier it is for the athlete to have the desired outcome actually stick.

Don’t have a beach to run on?  That’s all right.  I don’t either.  I live in St. Louis, Missouri.  And for those of you that are geographically challenged…that’s about as far away from a beach as you can get.  However, this doesn’t mean this exact same example wouldn’t work for you.  Sure, I can’t take my athletes to a beach to get this kind of work done, but I can create an environment that makes the athlete respond and adapt the exact same way.  Simply throwing a couple exercise mats on the ground and having the athlete sprint on the mats can create that soft feel, or “give” that the sand creates.  Sometimes you have to get creative to change environment, but if you’re able to think outside the box, you’ll have a lot of success with this.

The second and final example relating to the environment is on motor control and learning to do a basic exercise.  In this example, let’s look at a Step Up.  The athlete performing the Step Up continues to have valgus (knee cave) on the stepping leg.  Whenever I see this, I always fall back to changing the environment to make long lasting change.  Using a form of RNT (reactive neuromuscular training) to help the caving knee works like a charm.

If you’re unfamiliar with RNT work, I highly suggest learning more about it.  I did an article awhile back on this exact topic, so if you’re not using RNT right now, check out the blog post and implement immediately.  You’ll be happy you did.  I promise!  You can learn more about RNT here: http://smartgrouptraining.com/reactive-neuromuscular-training/

Using RNT is another way we can change the environment.  Before using RNT, there wasn’t a force pulling on the knee while stepping, but by changing the environment and adding a resistance band to the equation, there is now a force pulling that same knee into excessive valgus…WAY more than they had without the band.  However, you’ll quickly notice that adding the band didn’t make it worse, it made it better.  The body learned to adapt to the environment (band pulling the knee into valgus) quickly.  Without this quick learning adaptation, the knee would have caved so far in, the risk of injury would have spiked up immediately, but the human body is much smarter than that.  Rather than letting the knee cave in so far the risk of injury goes up, the body naturally adapts and fights back.  Changing the environment and adding a band to exploit their weakness automatically corrects things.  Again, the body learned to adapt without saying a word.

When you’re really trying to get things to stick with people, start looking at how you can make the environment create the changes you want to see.  Proper cuing is great, but getting desired outcomes with little to no cuing at all is just great coaching.  These changes will start to be deeply engrained into the brain and will eventually become the new pattern.  This is a great way to coach.  The coach who can get desired outcomes with as few coaching cues as possible will be the most successful.  Start toying around with environment changes to make the body react a certain way.  Think outside the box, be creative, and have fun with changing the environment to change the athlete.

Do What You Do, Get What You Get

We had the privilege of having Steve and Jared visit us up here and participate in one of our team meetings here at Get Fit NH. The hour and a half we spent reviewing the FMS and getting input on the way these two experts score was worth its weight in gold. As we went over each screen in detail and as Jared screened Nancy, each of us also scored the screen. After each of the 7 movement patterns we compared our scores with Steve and Jared’s. If you ever have the chance to do this I would highly recommend it, no matter how good you think you are at the FMS. We learned a lot, and we have been doing this a long time.

sgt blog

At our informal “Q&A,” after the screen was complete, we got into the inevitable discussion about correctives, and Jared said something that really hit home.

“If the correctives you are doing are not working after a couple of weeks, they probably aren’t going to. You need to find what does.”

We then discussed strategies on how to break out the pattern further to identify what the issue is. You can see an example for the ASLR here: http://smartgrouptraining.com/fms-active-straight-leg-raise/#more-1599

But back to the money quote “If the correctives you are doing are not working after a couple of weeks, they probably aren’t going to.”

Another way to put it is the title of this article.

“Do What You Do, Get What You Get”

That is not just true of movement patterns, but really it’s about all of life. You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results than what you have been getting.

We see it with our clients all the time, right?

Sally wants to lose weight, but she won’t change the way she eats.

Mike knows he needs to get more sleep, but he won’t turn off the TV at night.

Krystal says she wants to get stronger, but she also keeps picking up the “baby” weights.

Kind of low hanging fruit to be critical of, isn’t it? But think about it. They come to you because you can help coach them through their challenges. They need your help.

And are we as coaches really any different?

We want better businesses, to make more money, to have more time freedom, and to get awesome results with all our clients.

So are you getting the help you need?

Look, I’ll admit it. For the first few years of my career I thought I knew it all when it came to program design and getting better results for clients. And we did a pretty good job. But I think one of the best skills we can have as coaches is knowing that there is always someone smarter than you, and if you study the way they do things, you can get smarter too. You don’t have to reinvent everything.

That’s why when Precision Nutrition offered their Level 1 and Level 2 nutrition coaching courses we took them. They were doing nutrition coaching better than we were.

And that’s also why we have worked with mentors like Pat Rigsby and Fitness Consulting Group. They know more about running a successful business than we do.

That’s why we changed our screening procedure when we learned about the FMS. They were doing assessments better than we were.

That’s why when Smart Group Training was started, we started adopting SGT methodology. They did it better than we were doing it.

Admitting that someone does something better than you doesn’t diminish you as a coach, it makes you better as a coach. And if you don’t want to get better, do us all a favor and consider doing something else.

So here’s the challenge.

Pick one way today you can break out of any “Do What You Do, Get What You Get” pattern you may be trapped in.

And if you want to get better at training your clients, you owe it to yourself and to them to become an SGT Certified Facility. The next few years are going to be crazy in this industry, as poor trainers get weeded out and excellence rises to the top. Your competition is getting better, are you?

Make It Happen!

Coach Dean

Cardiac Output: Building a Base to Achieve Beast Mode

High Intensity or Low Intensity?

Short bursts of intense training or slow, continuous heart rate based training?

Over the past 5-10 years, the effectiveness of cardiovascular methods has been debated about and has been a hot topic in the training world. Steady state aerobic work has been getting beat up and has been deemed ineffective for burning fat, so everyone and their Mom decided that high intensity, short burst training is the way to go. After all, you can burn 9X the amount of fat using the Tabata method? Right?

It’s true, studies have shown that high intensity activities and short burst training have been effective at burning fat and increasing the overall demand of your workout. Years ago, after reading some articles and referring back to some research, I decided that the only conditioning method needed was this high intensity method. Why would anyone choose to do the traditional “steady state” aerobic work anymore? It takes more time to complete “steady state” aerobic work. It’s been proven to burn less fat. There have been pictures posted of skinny ass marathon runners next to Olympic sprinters saying, “What body do you want?”

Today, I’m here to argue that building an aerobic base is good for anyone. Sprinters, soccer players, powerlifters, football players, and any other athlete can benefit from “steady state” aerobic training. We like to refer to this type of training as “Slowbo.”

Slow. Boring. Cardio.

Slowbo training, along with building a better base of movement, is typically where I want to start with an athlete or client. If I’m going to invest my time and effort into a client or athlete, I want them to have an AMAZING base to work from. A poor foundation is going to lead to decreased performance and higher injury rates. However, if you take the time on the front end to enhance the foundation, you’re going to build athletes that can outlast their competition, perform at high levels from start to finish, and also have the ability to recover faster from each bout of exercise (training or competition). You can’t build a mansion on a shitty foundation. If you’re going to invest your time, money, and energy into something, you better make sure the foundation is sturdy enough to build upon.

Here is a list of some of the benefits you can expect from some good Slowbo training:

Eccentric Cardiac Hypertrophy – This is where the left ventricle of the heart actually becomes more elastic and has the ability to fill up with more blood. Eccentric cardiac hypertrophy is going to increase your stroke volume by allowing the chamber to fill up with more blood, allowing more blood to be pumped to the working muscles with each beat. As the eccentric cardiac hypertrophy begins to happen, you’ll notice a dramatic drop in resting heart rate, as well as recovery time between bouts of higher intensity. This is the foundation that will allow for better strength session, quicker recovery between sets, quicker recovery between training sessions, and will give you the energy you need to outlast your opponent.

Improved Stroke Volume – By allowing the left ventricle to fill with more blood between each heart beat, you’re working on improving the volume of blood that will be distributed with each pump. If your stroke volume is low, you’re going to have a tough time getting oxygen to your working muscles. Improve your stroke volume, and you’ll perform better, guaranteed!

Lower Resting HR – If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to see where your conditioning levels are, check your resting heart rate in the morning. If you’re above 60 bpm, cardiac output work is going to be beneficial for you…no matter what sport you’re in to. Also, checking your resting HR is a decent way to see how well your body is adapting to the training you’re doing. If you’re consistently seeing increases in your morning resting HR, back down on your training and do a de-load week. Chances are, your body is trying to tell you something. Your recovery isn’t where it needs to be, so the heart is working harder at rest. Back off a little and watch that number fall back down.

Faster Recovery from Training Sessions or Competition – If you’re a strength or power athlete and you think you need very little cardiovascular development, think again. If you’re wanting to be competitive in O Lifting, Powerlifting, the 100-m dash, or any other event relying purely on a different energy system, you still need to recover between lifts, sprints, jumps, etc…If your struggling to recover to the fullest, your next attempt may not be as good as it could be. This is the immediate impact of how cardiac output can help DURING the session or event. It also helps BETWEEN training sessions by allowing the body to recover and adapt to the training you’re doing. In order to get good results, you’re going to need to have great recovery.

Just because you’re training a speed and power athlete doesn’t mean you have to neglect the aerobic system. After reading the list of benefits above, you should be able to see how a powerlifter can benefit from building an aerobic base and making time for a little Slowbo training.

Sure, powerlifting isn’t an aerobic sport. However, powerlifting does require a high volume of training to make continuous improvements. Nobody gets really strong by sitting on his or her ass. Improving recovery and allowing the athlete to be prepared for the next hard strength session will enhance results. You’ll then be able to stack more intensity into your training without overdoing it. You’ll be able to lift heavy, more regularly. If you’re serious about getting stronger, build an aerobic base first, and then stack on volume and intensity. It may take a little longer on the front end; however, you’ll be rewarded for the time invested later in your program.

Adding Additional Revenue Streams to Your Fitness Business

If you’re in the business of training, you probably know that there are going to be ebbs and flows when it comes to revenue generated. You’re going to have some clients that will vacation for the winter. Some people reduce the amount their training in the summer since they’ll be outside doing the activities they actually train for all winter long. If you coach youth athletes, they’re going to have a sport season that chews up a majority of their time and typically this means less time with you. Since the clientele is going to always have some turnover, you better make sure you have income coming in from more than just one place. Adding additional revenue streams shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury to add more money; it should be viewed as a necessity of doing business.


Historically, we’ve always had pretty good retention. You can’t build a gym that does well over a half million a year in sales without keeping a heavy chunk of your clients. Also, you usually can’t make that type of cash with training alone. Having multiple revenue streams has been a lifesaver for us many times. There have been multiple months that training income wasn’t as high as it should, but the expenses sure as hell don’t budge. Those expenses are going to be there month in, month out whether you like it or not.


So what are you going to do if you lose a few clients?


How are you going to pay your bills if this happens?


If you’re smart and proactive about making sure your business is successful, start thinking of additional ways you can generate some income. Some of these revenue streams will be very miniscule in comparison to your training numbers, but when you start to add each revenue stream together, you’ll see how that can easily be another 5 figures or more added to your bottom line. Even if you’re only making a couple hundred bucks each month from something new you add, over the course of a year, that additional revenue source will be a couple grand in the bank. Add 3-4 easy to implement ideas, and you could easily be looking at giving yourself a $10,000 a year raise. Doesn’t that sound nice?


Here are a few different revenue steams we’ve added over the years. Some of them have done more than others, but it all adds up in the end. Check out the list and start thinking about a few ways to add some additional cash to your bottom line:


Digital or Physical Products

Thinking all the way back to the start of the gym, both Steve and myself always wanted to share our knowledge via a product of some sort. We kicked around the ideas on how to create fat loss products. We threw around golf training and making a DVD to help add distance to your drive. We literally had at least 10-15 ideas being kicked around before we came up w/ Smart Group Training.


During our travels, both Steve and myself kept getting asked the same questions. Over and over…trip after trip…the same questions always popped up.


How do you guys do it?


How in the hell do you FMS everyone in your boot camp program?


On the way back from a Mastermind meeting or educational seminar, I forget which one it was, our product finally came to us. It didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. It all stemmed from getting asked, “How do you do it? How do you incorporate the FMS into your group training?”


We’re both pretty passionate about this topic and apparently…there’s a market looking for this information. We threw away our idea of High Performance Fat Loss (actually had a logo created, Facebook page, and were taking the steps necessary to get it off the ground) and we went all in with Smart Group Training. Needless to say; the rest is history. If you have a good idea and can create a digital or physical product, this could be a good way to add some additional money each month. Don’t be foolish and think it’s a turnkey, done-for-you, easy to implement system. There will be work behind this. There will be some customer service that has to be dealt with. But…the additional revenue stream can help take you and your training business to the next level if you’re ready for it.


More Than One Type of Training Option

            When I first opened my gym, I only had group training as an option. After quitting the box gym I worked at for 4+ years, I started my training business by renting out a dance studio and the local senior center. I had a traveling gym in my Ford Explorer and went from place to place to provide the best possible workout for the people that believed in what I was doing. Group training was the only option.


At this point in my career, I only had one revenue stream. I quickly realized that adding another service or providing the current clients with a little more was not only wanted…it was necessary to keep moving forward. This led me to opening my first training facility. As soon as I had my own place, semi-private personal training became another option. A year or so later, we had youth sports performance. Today, we have group personal training, semi-private training, a ridiculously high priced one-on-one option, and we also have a couple add-on’s to give our clients an option to do both personal training and group training. Having a few different options will help minimize any losses if one program or service has a bad month.


Supplement Sales

            Ever since we’ve opened our doors to the gym, we’ve been selling supplements. This additional revenue stream should be a no-brainer as long as you have a little extra cash flow to supply some inventory to put on the shelves. We’re in the business of delivering results, and supplements can definitely help our clients achieve them. We try to keep a handful of supplements on our shelf in order to make things easy for the client, and to provide them with a quality source to get their supplements.


They come and train with us to get help, so having a few supplements only made sense. We don’t go overboard on supplements, but we do carry fish oil, probiotics, whey protein, meal replacement shakes, post-workout concoctions, and a multi-vitamin. We’re not necessarily trying to get anything else on the shelf, but these few supplements really help us provide our clients with the missing links in their daily nutrition. If we can start filling the missing links in their diets, replace some of the bad for good, and get them more concentrated on what goes in their mouth, they’re going to get better results and you’re going to make a little extra cash each month. Win/win right there!


Specialized Nutrition & Goal Setting Sessions

We’ve had this option at our gym for more than four years now. Nutrition hasn’t been a huge revenue generator; however, it’s pulled in multiple thousands of dollars each and every year. Without this little revenue stream, the business would make a little less each month, and our clients that want and need the extra help may begin to look elsewhere. It’s our mission to create a holistic program that gets results and covers each component of health and wellness.


One thing that most gyms and trainers suck at is goal setting. More than half the trainers I talk to don’t even have their own set of goals written on paper. Don’t try to start this program if you fall in that group. First, start by setting your own goals and realize the power of writing them down and reviewing them daily. After you’ve had some success with this, create a system to deliver results to your clients. Create a goal setting workshop you can take one person, or a group of people through. Start to work with them on gazing into the future to see obstacles they’re going to encounter. Create action plans for when those obstacles actually arise. Finally, package all of this into a powerful session and program you should be charging for.


Our pricing, especially for our group training, just doesn’t allow time to meet individually with people to go over goals and create action plans for success. We can do all the education we want, but some people are going to want the extra attention, and they’re not going to bat an eye at the additional cost. This program is definitely a winner and will only help improve/enhance the results you’re getting with your clients.


So there you have it…four additional revenue streams for your training business. If you’re not doing these, you should be. Don’t try to overextend yourself for a couple hundred bucks, but think about a good system to deliver these programs without making your schedule and staff go crazy. If you can deliver these programs or offerings with ease though, you definitely should. These programs will bump your monthly revenue and enhance your clients’ results. Anything that puts extra money in my pocket while improving the results of my clients is a worth looking into. If you have a revenue stream that pulls in some good money each month while improving the results of your clients, I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Drop a line in the comment section if you have a revenue generator that’s enhancing your clients’ results.





Facebook Check In Contest – How to Verify Check Ins

Facebook Check In Contest

After my most recent blog post, I quickly found out that finding the number of Facebook check in’s someone has on Facebook was tricky. It’s actually pretty easy if you know what you’re doing. I’m going to show you a simple way to check how many times you’ve checked in to a business.

Facebook Check In prizes can create quite the hype in your business. It’s pretty cool to get on social media on a daily basis and see your gym on the feed ALL THE TIME! It’s very simple to do this as well. Check back to the post I’m talking about to see the prizes we give to our members.

You can find it here:


Here is the simple step-by-step process to find out how many times someone has checked in. I’m going to keep it real simple, so just pick up your phone and follow along.

Verifying a Facebook Check In

  1. Go to your Facebook App and open Facebook on your cell phone
  2. Go to the bottom right hand corner and tap “more”
  3. Next, click on your name to go to your personal profile
  4. From deer, go to the about tab and give it a click
  5. Scroll down to the places section and click on it
  6. BOOM! Check the “Visited” section and you’re all set.

This is a simple step process to give your business some Facebook exposure. Set it up tomorrow, confirm your clients are actually marketing for you, and get yourself some new clients from this little tip :)

Do you currently run a facebook check in program? Have you in the past? Let us know your experience with running facebook check in contests or programs with your clients. We have had great success with what we have done, but I’m sure someone can add to this? What are your thoughts?

3 Ways to Generate Leads, Enhance Results, and Build Community

It’s always fun to talk about training.  I can sit here and talk training for hours upon hours.  However, if you don’t have people staying, paying, and referring their friends, training may have to take the backseat for a while.  Don’t take that statement the wrong way.  I am by no means saying to stop your education.  It will help you get better results with your clients, but today I want to talk about 3 different strategies you can use to ensure that you always have a little buzz going around your training program.  Not only do we want to provide them with a great, safe and effective workout, but we also want to get them talking, sharing their experience on Facebook, and creating a culture around your program.


  1. Transformation Contests – I’ve gone back and forth on transformation contests over the past 5 years. Why is this?  The reason is that transformation contests generate amazing results; however, some people get absolutely devastated if they don’t win.  They bust their ass for 6-10 weeks to get a close 2nd or 3rd, or hell…they may even get 5th.  They take the “If you’re not first, you’re last” quote from Ricky Bobby a little too seriously.  Some people will sink into a state of depression and put the weight back on right after the contest is over. 

These are our outliers though.

This is not the norm.

While some people get upset that they didn’t win, most of the participants will get amazing results (better than they would’ve if there wasn’t a challenge or contest), have a good time working out, bring more intensity to each session, and start talking about things to their family and friends.  This “buzz” going around is a great thing.  You need to take advantage of this if you’re a trainer.  Use the buzz, use the hype, use the results to help fuel your marketing and ability to get new clients.

During our 8 week challenges, the average weight loss is somewhere around 10 lbs.  Some people drop 25-30 lbs. and lose more inches than your typical footlong sandwich from Subway.  We need to capitalize off these results.  We need to get that information out on social media, put before and afters on your web page, and build a strong sense of culture and community.

If you haven’t done a challenge or contest before, don’t fret.  It can be a little overwhelming to put one together, especially if you’re all by yourself.  However, the money you make from it, the results your clients will get, and the referrals throughout the contest will far outweigh the work it takes to set one up.

I’m a big fan of the saying, “don’t re-invent the wheel.”  It’s already been done by hundreds of trainers around the world.  Take what works for them and simply apply.  If you’re looking to save time and still have a challenge that generates hype, check out the done-for-you transformation challenge product my friend Ryan Ketchum put together.  Awesome product that gives you plug and play material for making your next, or first, challenge a breeze.

Transformation Success Manual HERE



Whole Food Detox Program – A couple years ago, we decided to spice things up around the gym.  We don’t like having workout-based challenges and contests too frequently.  If you do, you’ll have deal hoppers trying to take advantage of every special you have, but shy away from actually working with you year-round.  So after thinking about things for a while, we decided we wanted to do a challenge that was based around nutrition, and nutrition only.

This is where the 21-Day Detox program came into play.  After hearing about the success my friend and SGT Advisory Board Member, Justin Yule, was having with his program, we decided to give it a shot.


Instant success!

Justin put together a detox program that is based solely around eating whole, unprocessed foods.  It’s an elimination diet to rid the body of sugar and processed foods.  I’m sure it goes a little deeper into the science than that, but to keep it simple…the detox dramatically changed the way people eat and how the think about food.  It made our clients more aware of what was actually going in their mouths.  Most people already “thought” they were eating well.  It wasn’t until they went through the detox program before they realized the sugar content and processed foods were in their diet much more than they originally thought.

Just like the Transformation Contest listed above, you’d think there’s a ton of time needed to pull this off.  WRONG!

Justin and his wife Jannell put together the program and decided to package it for other trainers as well.  Overall, I think it took me about 2-3 hours to get this set up and enrolling people into the program.  The 21-Day Detox is a done-for-you program that you plug into an autoresponder system.  Basically, you cut and paste the stuff from their product, add it to an autoresponder email system, create a Facebook page, and that’s about it.

We typically do this twice a year.  Once in the winter (after or during our transformation contest) and once again in the fall.  To be honest, we’ve been running these contests for ourselves.  Even as trainers, it’s easy to fall into the habits of eating like crap and not doing EXACTLY as you preach.  By adding a detox into our annual calendar, we’re able to lock down our nutrition a couple times a year, and this generally spills over for much longer than the 21 days.  Personally, after doing a detox, my nutrition habits are pretty much perfect for at least 2-3 months.  By the time I start to slip back into old comfort food habits, we’re kicking the detox promotion back off again.  Love this program…can’t say enough about it.  Try it out.  I guarantee you’ll make your money back, plus more, and have some “buzz” going around your gym.

21 Day Detox Challenge HERE


Facebook Check-In Program – If you truly want to generate some buzz around your gym and develop a culture from within, you better be embracing the power of social media.  I’m not a big Twitter guy personally, but whatever social media platform you and your clients use regularly, a check-in program will help get your gym’s name out there and constantly in front of people.

Everyone likes to get free stuff.  Give people an opportunity to earn free stuff, and you’ll be surprised what they’ll do.  Checking in on Facebook is a pretty reasonable request, so a heavy majority of our members check-in at our gym each and every workout.  We probably have about 2/3’s of our members doing this.  Take 2/3’s of 250.  That’s 165 people checking in each week on Facebook.  Now multiply that by the average number of sessions completed each week, we’ll be on the conservative side and say 2 workouts done each week, and you’re looking at a whopping 330 impressions each week.  Stretch that out to the month, and we’re looking at about 1500 posts about our gym.

The beautiful thing about this one is that it’s not you promoting your own gym or training program.  It’s your members!  Harness the power of social media and give your clients a reason to talk.  We recently changed our check-in prizes, but this is what we’re doing now, and will be doing for years to come :)

  • 25 Check-In’s – $10 Whole Foods Gift Card
  • 50 Check-In’s – Free Premium Tee Shirt (Gym Branded of course :)
  • 100 Check-In’s – $50 Gift Certificate to the gym (no restrictions on this)
  • 150 Check-In’s – One free massage or float
  • 250 Check-In’s – Gym Swag Bag w/ Tervis Tumbler, water bottle, T Shirt, Bag, Hat, and Sweat Towel)
  • 500 Check In’s – Polar Loop or A300 Activity Tracker
  • 750 Check-In’s – 6 Months of massage or floats
  • 1000 Check-In’s – All Expense paid vacation to anywhere in the domestic US

We obviously don’t have an issue with giving away this stuff.  If it generates one client in the process of them getting 1000 check-ins, it pays itself off.  You get a ton of exposure, you’ll probably get at least one referral if they’re signing in 1000x, and you’ll have a client that’s been staying, paying, and telling their friends for years.  It’s a solid program that does a good job at getting your gym’s name out there.

So there you have it…three of my favorite things that we do to generate buzz and new leads coming in the door.  Hope this helps spark some creativity, or at least gives you the resources to buy one of the plug-and-play options listed above.  If you’re not doing any of these, try to work them in your marketing calendar.  You won’t be disappointed.

Building Your Training Program From the Ground Up

Building a well-rounded training program that’s designed to get major results is a ton of fun. Program design is honestly one of my favorite things I do on a regular basis; outside of actually training the client. I absolutely love training, and if you’re reading this article, I’m sure we have a common bond in how we feel about training. That’s probably why you got into the field of strength & conditioning, personal training, or rehab. Most of my colleagues all say the same thing, “I just want to help people. I want to be a driving force in their success and help them achieve things they never thought possible.”

If you truly want to help people, the concept of “From the Ground Up” should be well understood and utilized on a daily basis in the gym.

What exactly does it mean?

Training from the ground up simply means that it’s best to start on the ground before working your way to your feet. The floor is the safest place for you to begin. While on the floor, gravity has less of an effect on the body. Since we’re able to take gravity out of the equation, basic stability tends to improve. The floor is giving extra support and stability, so learning basic moves becomes easier if you start on the floor.

I pretty much have all my clients start there…on the floor. After foam rolling and knocking out a couple quick corrective exercises based around their weakest link, our clients all start on the ground. Exercises will vary from individual to individual since we’re all unique and we all have our own little quirks we need to work on, but the concept of starting from the ground and building our way up is apparent in each training session.

Have you ever heard of the 4×4 Matrix?

Dr. Greg Rose, one of the top guys in the FMS, SFMA, and TPI, created this little nugget of information that I use ALL the time. At least that’s where I caught wind of the 4×4 Matrix. Whether Dr. Rose created it or not, the concepts of the 4×4 Matrix has allowed me to get outstanding results in less time. I’m going to list out the 4×4 Matrix and what it means, but I’m really only going to elaborate on the left side of this table.

4×4 Matrix

Position Level of Resistance/Assistance
1. Supine/Prone 1. Core Engaged Assisted
2. Quadruped 2. Bodyweight
3. Kneeling (1/2 or Tall) 3. Core Engaged Resisted
4. Standing 4. Resisted


If you look at the table above, illustrating the 4×4 Matrix, you’ll see “position” on the left side. Notice how the position starts on the ground, moves to quadruped, then kneeling, and finally standing. This is where the concept of “From the Ground Up” begins. We must first be able to perform an exercise well on the floor before we’re going to have success in the next position…usually.

After the movement screen, it’s time to start training. We customize the warm up’s. We customize the strength and power portion of the training program. We tailor everything they’re doing to push their limits whether that’s simply learning how to move an arm overhead with control or progressing all the way to something as complex as a push jerk. So, the next time you’re building a training program, remember the 4×4 Matrix. Remember that starting on the ground and building up will enhance results.

We have two resources to check out to help explain this concept a little better. First, there’s going to be an in-service Steve did at our gym a couple years ago. Steve covers breathing by position and takes you from the floor, to quadruped, to kneeling, to standing. You’ll be able to see that left side of the Matrix in action and start to understand why we start on the floor. Build the base and start to go more vertical.

The next resource we’re going to provide you with is a snapshot of our current warm-up we’re using in our group training program right now. Notice how we begin with the breath on the floor (the most basic, most supported position), we stay in supine, then we move to quadruped, then kneeling, and finally standing. The exercises build in complexity and follow the Ground Up approach. So, the next time you’re building your training program, start to think about building the foundation on the floor and progressing from there.


If you’re looking for more info on how to build your training program based upon the results of the Functional Movement Screen, be sure to check out our resource: Smart Group Training Volume One – Screening and Corrective Exercise. In this resource we’ll show you an exact, step-by-step implementation plan to incorporate screening and corrective exercise into your group training program. This is much easier than you probably think, but no need in re-creating the wheel. Check it out!




Assessment in Fitness Training


I am working on tightening up my assessment process. Making a quick version of a movement screen and a more detailed assessment for special cases. I work alongside a massage therapist so we need a process that covers both of our needs so we can communicate about certain clients. The FMS is great, but definitely not enough in some cases and too much for other cases.

What general or specific assessments have you guys found helpful that are often overlooked?


I’m just going to break this question down piece by piece to be more accurate. Here we go.

Creating your own assessment process is a bad idea – I can tell you from experience that this is a bad idea. I’ve made many screens that, at the time, I thought were better than the FMS. More details, easier, no kit needed, etc. However, after using these screens, I’ve seen the light and understand that the FMS is the standard for a reason. I will make my point with your questions below.

Need to communicate with others about results – This is why the FMS is so amazing! It gives you a baseline to communicate, it gives you a scoring system that tells you about the movement, and it’s the only system that defines what good movement is. If you can’t define good movement than what are you assessing? The Functional Movement Screen and the SFMA were designed for movement professionals to communicate with clinicians worldwide. Why reinvent the wheel?

Not enough in some cases – I can’t think of a case where the FMS is not enough to screen functional movement.  What movement is not covered by the FMS that wouldn’t be considered a performance test or an assessment that a clinician should be doing? If your client is in pain you should refer out. Know your scope of practice. Can they do they movement that you will be asking of them in the gym? The FMS is the best system to tell you which patterns you train, which patterns you correct, and which patterns you avoid.

0 – avoid and/or refer out

1 – correct or avoid

2 – Process with caution

3 – Feel free to rip it

Additionally, the FMS Level 2 workshop has many breakouts for each movement on the screen so you can dig deeper into correcting each pattern. I also have started a series on the SGT blog that shows breakouts for each movement. Between the screen and the breakouts, that should be more than enough information.

Too much for other cases – The FMS takes 8-10 minutes to perform with a client. I don’t’ know how to get this much reliable information in 10 minutes any other way. Doing some of the movements and not all of them gives you an incomplete picture of how someone moves. The FMS is basic movement, you will be doing basic movement with your clients, shouldn’t you at least look at those movements at a basic level without load before training them?

Also, you can always default to the Active Straight Leg Raise and Shoulder Mobility if someone is elderly or severely obese. I can’t think of any situation besides that where the FMS would be too much.

All of that being said – I completely understand that you want to learn more about assessment. I read and watch everything I can get my hands on about the topic and I also tweak my breakouts all of the time. You should always keep learning and questioning the status quo, so I commend you for that.

I’d check out the following resources to learn more:

Assess and Correct by Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, and Bill Hartman

Functional Stability Training by Mike Reinold and Eric Cressey

SGT Building a Foundation

I do however strongly believe that the FMS should come first so we all can be on the same page with what movement is, and we all can communicate on how to make it better. Great question!