Monday 15 October 2012

Gambetta's Guiding Principles
Application of Functional Training

Posted by at 9:00 AM



I attended the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association Convention this week to exhibit TRI-STRETCH®.  I had the opportunity to speak with numerous physical therapists, physical therapy assistants and physical therapy students.


Thank you to all who stopped by to learn more about functional training and tri-plnar flexibility and uses of the TRI-STRETCH® for patient populations from athletes to the elderly.  

Vern Gambetta, recently published an article in the October 2012 Training and Conditioning magazine which does a thorough job of defining functional training. I have had the opportunity to study with Vern on several occasions and have high respect for his understanding of applying functional principles to athletes.  He lists basic principles to guide functional movement training which can be applied to any patient population. 




  Train movements, not muscles

(with every patient type: with every function: the joints and muscles need to work    in unison with the proprioceptors firing/being trained and the muscles strengthened in an integrated- not isolated-fashion). 


-Dynamic balance is the foundation for all training

(balance is dynamic strength.. is the ability to be strong enough to allow movement while still controlling that movement and “bringing it back home”).


-Train fundamental movement skills before sport specific skills

(train ability to move athletically before training the sport specific skill.  All too often training programs concentrate on the end skill when what needs to be done is training components of that skill and just becoming strong in all three planes of motion to allow for greater athleticism. 


-Train core strength before extremity strength

(the core is more than the abdominals..train the back, hips and even the pelvic floor muscles -yes , male athletes too! )


-Train body weight before external resistance 

(all too often we have well meaning weight room coaches setting high weight goals and awards for high weight amounts in the traditional lifts of squat, bench, and dead lift...when the young athlete can’t control his own body weight in all three planes and/or  with challenges far less  -pound wise. Most high school athletes can be challenged greatly with less than 50# ..many with less than that..when the movements are tri-planar and performed in integrated isolation.)


-Train sport appropriate. You are what you train to be.

  (this does not mean that your best training for a sport is to only play that sport..far from it..remember the training to move athletically before training sport specific skill from above guideline.  It does mean though that if your athlete plays a sport on their feet, consider if you are achieving the “most bang for your buck” by having them train in the pool for instance...gravity certainly is not the same ..proprioceptor’s are being trained differently... Cross training has a role but be mindful that it is cross training with a purpose. 


For more on functional training click here. 


*Vern Gambetta ,MA is the President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Florida. His website is