Finding The Function in Disfunction: The Foundation of Functional Training

Athlete Training Assessment for Weekend Warriors Athletes and Youth Atheletes

I have been in this industry for close to 10 years as a coach and a trainer, and I have been in this industry in its infancy since my days as a college athlete at the University of Cincinnati from 1991-1995. Just to give you a brief description of our strength and conditioning program (which was pretty progressive compared to most universities) lifting heavy free weights in three core movements of the Bench Press and the Back Squat and the Leg Press (which technically is not a free weight movement but is a closed chain movement which is essential to developing strength in the multijoint exercises) as the cornerstone of the train program along with Olympic weightlifting which develops power and helps players become more explosive and faster. My strength coach at the University of Cincinnati was Mickey Marotti who now is Ohio State's Asst A.D. for Football Sports Performance and a legend in the field of strength and conditioning. I learned a lot of great thing training under Mick for 4 years, and his training philosophy was my blueprint for myself made training programs during my 12-year career in the AFL. But as time went on over the last 2 1/2 decades the industry changed as more individuals started to dive deep into the details of different training methods and how to develop more resilient stronger, faster athletes more efficiently. In 2010 2 years after I retired from professional football, I decided to enter this industry and to learn how to train and develop programs for individuals specifically youth athletes correctly, I did not want to give someone a canned program I received from a coach that  made up based on an old program that was developed for college and professional athletes. So I started to reads every book, dozens of articles about strength and conditioning, and performance training. that is where I discovered the FMS (Functional Movement Sytems), this is an evaluation system that was developed by Gray Cook and Kyle Kiesel to evaluate the movement patterns of High School athletes and to assess any mobility issues, soft tissue imbalances, and restrictions that limited athletic movement which may increase the risk of injury. This introduction to assessments changed the way I approached my programming and caused me to review my training philosophy to focus on the movement first and the intensity (amount of weight lifted) and volume (the number of sets and reps programmed) second. This revolutionary element that was created has changed the training industry for the better. Now let's take it back to 1991 and my first experience as a college athlete and for that case 1995 my first experience as a  professional athlete for the Seattle Seahawks, both situations were almost identical in regards to assessing my ability as an athlete outside of the physical with the orthopedic doctor, the medical doctor, and the athletic trainer. There was no movement assessment due to the fact there were no know benefits of assessing movement outside of the Cybex machine, which is not used at all anymore to my knowledge due to its failure to predict injury accurately. As I trained during both time of my college and professional career I injured self on several occasions due to issue dealing with strength imbalances and mobility issues that would not be dealt with and cleared up for over a decade.  

After my 6th arthroscopic surgery, 3 on my right knee one on the left knee and ankle (equals 2 surgeries) and one on my left shoulder in my AC Joint which was due to major issues of overuse and strength imbalances which I developed bone spurs and started to experience pain and restriction.  

All of these issues and surgeries could have been addressed and possible prevented with a simple assessment that could should have shown mobility (joint movement) and flexibility (muscular movement) issues in the three main areas of the human body:

  • Ankles

  • Hips

  • Shoulders

I entered this industry to teach young athletes how to train properly and to try to avoid preventable injuries and surgeries and to coach them on help to execute a training movements properly. The assessment that I use to evaluate the movement of my clients is inspired by the FMS and there are elements of the FMS in my 4 point movement assessment. What I am looking for with my basic knowledge of human movement and kinesiology is making sure that the athlete has good, ankle, hip, and shoulder. I also assess Thoracic mobility and stability which affects everything from your breathing to your shoulder and lower back health. I started producing a series of videos showing exercises that I use to improve the strength and the mobility of these three key areas, here is one of them......

Follow ATLAS on Instagram and The ATLAS YOUTUBE Channel  for more videos from the ATLAS Mobility series.   

Here are the movement assessment tests that I use to evaluate movement.

4 movement assessment tests for the youth athletes

6 movements assessment for adult Weekend Warrior clients I train...

Athlete Movement Assessment






Active adult clients "Weekend Warriors" Assessment Evaluation







* These movements are recorded

The reason there are two more movements for the "Weekend Warrior" assessment is that most of these individuals have physical daily demands that in most cases cause strength imbalance that is due to their inactivity, especially when they have a sedentary career.  

I record a majority of the movements for (these are the movements listed with the * next to them) review in detail in order to create a complete training program. For example, while doing DOWEL HIP HINGE (ASSESSMENT) the if there is limited hip mobility in the hip hinge then any squat exercise variation will be modified to prevent possible injury. A 20-minute assessment can help build the trust that is needed and set the foundation for a productive injury free training program.