Random Thoughts from the Chicago Functional Training Summit

Posted: July 22, 2013 by dannytwoguns in 2013 Seminars, Random Thoughts

The Chicago Functional Training Summit was a little over three weeks ago. With a busy time putting things into action from the weekend before at the Results Fitness Mastermind/Mentorship and the Summit itself, I haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet. I was pretty exhausted from the back to back weeks/weekends of traveling during the summit but still got in some great experiences including getting to bullshit with Mike Wunsch quite a bit, which I enjoyed.

Here’s some random thoughts from the Chicago Functional Training Summit…

Who and What I Saw…

I went with the same approach that I did with the Providence summit in that I saw both the lecture and hands on session of each presenter when I was able to do so. I definitely like that approach because you get the full understanding of each topic as it is impossible for the presenter to get through everything in just the lecture or just the hands on.

Topics where I saw both the lectures and hands on were…

Eric Beard – 6 Steps to Thoracic Mobility
Jason Glass – Rotational Power Slings
Craig Liebenson – Building the Resilient Athlete
Michael Mullin – Principles of Posture Restoration for the Sports Clinician

The lectures only I saw were…

Fraser Quelch – The Evolution of Training
Chuck Wolf – Core Connections
Charlie Weingroff – Cracking the Stretching Code
Rick Mayo – You Gotta Have Layers

And then the one hands on only I attended was…

Josh Henkin and Metabolic Stability Training

And it was a blast. I had the honor and privilege of assisting fitness and Ultimate Sandbag guru, Josh Henkin in coaching and instructing the hands-on presentation… and easily had the best socks of the day.

Chicago FTS

The session emphasized Josh’s methods and philosophies of his Dynamic Variable Resistance Training model including how we can progress and regress exercises with more than just adding or subtracting weight to it. It was all things we covered in the Level 1&2 DVRT Certification a few months ago but it was my first experience as an “expert” at one of the biggest fitness profession events. A humbling and interesting experience indeed.

Chicago FTS 2

Josh and the DVRT coaches split up and tackled the massive group and it was a great experience to say the least. Coaching the fitness professional is definitely different than coaching clients as I was used to. Big thanks for Josh for the education and the opportunity.

Memorable Quotes

“People with desk/sitting jobs are TWICE as likely to die from heart disease opposed to those who do not.” – Eric Beard
“A good workout should leave you with more than it takes away.” – Craig Liebenson via Pavel Tsatsouline
“Never lose science, principles and what is proven to work but never forget to have fun either.” – Fraser Quelch
“Earn the right to rotate. Anti-rotation has to come before rotation.” – Jason Glass
“Efficiency is the enemy of fat loss.” – Rick Mayo
“Bootcamps, Crossfit… they’re all a race to the bottom and a price war. You are better, charge for it.” – Rick Mayo
“I have a 70 year old woman at my gym who can deadlift 300lbs. You know why she was able to do that? Because I never told her she couldn’t or shouldn’t. ” – Thomas Plummer
“Posture isn’t static.” – Michael Mullin
“Don’t stretch for competency, stretch only when there is competency.” – Charlie Weingroff
“We deem an exercise functional by its result, not what it looks like.” – Charlie Weingroff via Gray Cook
“You didn’t lose flexibility from X, you lost flexibility because you trained like an idiot.” – Charlie Weingroff

The Answer

Craig Liebenson in his lecture “Building the Resilient Athlete,” quoted SFG/formerly RKC and kettlebell expert Pavel Tsatouline… “I find it ridiculous when an athlete spends 45 minutes on esoteric correctives, then half heartedly lifts a baby weight in some sissy move… he has turned into a hypochondriac, constantly scanning his carcass for aches and pains, real and imaginary. An athlete pre occupied with his rehab/prehab is micromanaging his body.”

Craig’s response to this was – “Don’t forget your function as a professional, the pendulum swings both ways.” What he meant was we have two extremes the pendulum has swung to. The side that chases the make you tired at all costs and leads to injury through irresponsible working out and the side that only does corrective exercises or lifts baby weights because they don’t want to get injured or “bulky”.

My answer (and the right one 🙂 ) is that it falls somewhere in the middle. You have to get strong/lift heavy and work hard but you also need to do those things on a solid foundation built on proper mobility, stability and functional movements. If one doesn’t have those, you need corrective/FMS based exercises in order to do so. But that doesn’t mean you cant workout hard on the things you are capable or competent at.

We need to be mobile through the thoracic spine, hips and ankles and stable though the core, lower back and knee and those are all related. A lot of people have a weakness there that needs to be addressed, so we address it and the hit the things hard that need to be/we can. Getting tired is a possible byproduct of a good workout but it certainly isn’t the goal.

The pendulum has definitely swung too far in the direction of the goal being making you tired, pointless and potentially dangerous workouts from the sitting on a machine, lift light and easy it had been. As usual, the answer is somewhere in the middle. Correctives aren’t just for wimps, lifting heavy wont hurt you or make you bulky if you don’t want it to and is the answer to fat loss and feeling better.


I’ve been slow to jump on the breathing bandwagon that seems to have consumed the fitness profession lately. I’ve had exposure and heard a lot from it the in the past six months to a year but I just wasn’t buying it. I don’t know if it was because I was just being stubborn or not having a full understanding. But either way I wasn’t buying. Until the Chicago summit.

After seeing Art Horne’s presentation and hands on of “Atypical Training Strategies for Injury Reduction and Improved Performance” in Providence, now seeing Eric Beard’s “6 Steps to Thoracic Mobility” and Michael Mullin (of PRI which has brought dysfunctional breathing and corrections related to them to the mainstream)’s “Principles of Posture Restoration for the Sports Clinician,” as well as seeing Results Fitness incorporating it while I was there for the mastermind, I’ve given in and started experimenting.


I’ve mainly been experimenting on myself so far but it seems that I’m sold enough to start experimenting with clients in their programs in the near future. The short (of the very long and complicated of it, oddly enough) is that people generally have dysfunctional diaphragmatic breathing and generally breathe through the upper chest/shoulders, dont inhale with proper expansion or exhale with control leading to dysfunctional posture, mobility, stability and movement patterns among other things.

There are other interesting points in breathing such as its impact on sympathetic hormones and neurotransmitters or the “fight or flight” response, but that’s for another time. I’ll be sure to keep updated as I experiment but it is definitely the “new thing” in fitness so we’ll see what happens.

I probably lost half of the readers in that breathing thought as it is, so I’ll end it here for now. As always, let me know what you thought, liked or disliked. Talk to you soon.

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