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  • ACE Functional Training Specialty Certification

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*Includes all courses below.

Become an expert in efficient movement

With a versatility that ranges from competitive athletes to rehabilitation patients, and everyday people who need to improve their balance and joint stability, expertise in functional training can be applied to a wide range of clients. As a Functional Training Specialist, you'll be able to help people move more efficiently, prevent injury, improve their balance and flexibility, build strength, and improve their overall quality of life.

Who is it designed for?

Our Functional Training Specialty Certification is designed for fitness and allied health professionals who want to garner a deeper understanding of how to train the body to move more efficiently. Whether it's improving core function to give clients an edge in athletic competition or boosting balance to help older adults play with their grandchildren without pain, functional training can help all adults improve movement efficiency.

How do I earn one?

To earn a Functional Training Specialty Certification, you must review all of the components listed below and take the quizzes associated with the material. Although you may complete courses for any Specialty Certification, ACE will not recognize you as a Specialist unless you also hold a current NCCA-accredited certification or an equivalent professional credential. For a list of accepted pre-requisite credentials, click here.

After you complete all courses and quizzes, an ACE Specialty Certification and continuing education credits (CECs) will be uploaded into your My ACE account. The purchase price includes all materials and fees necessary to become a Specialist, and your designation as a Specialist will not expire.

Have other questions about ACE Specialty Certifications? Check out our list of FAQs.

An ACE Functional Training Specialty Certification is approved for 2.5 ACE CECs. The program is also approved by the following organizations for continuing education hours:

    Foundations for Function: Movement by Design

    Foundations for Function: Movement by Design
    (Online Content, Book, Online Quiz)

    Learn the fundamentals of functional training and how to use functional anatomy, assessments, and motor learning principles to develop comprehensive workout programs. Based on The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain by ACE Certified Professional Anthony B. Carey, the course will help you develop efficient musculoskeletal systems in clients by focusing on structural strength and postural balance.

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    Intended for experienced health and fitness professionals, this three-part course covers the fundamentals of functional training and how to use functional anatomy, assessments, and motor learning principles to develop comprehensive workout programs. Based on The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain by ACE Certified Professional Anthony B. Carey, the course will help you develop efficient musculoskeletal systems in clients by focusing on structural strength and postural balance.


    You will learn:

    • Muscular causes to structural imbalances and movement impairments
    • Functional anatomy and integration of major myofascial slings and systems
    • Assessments using static postural, single-leg stance and overhead squats
    • Application of motor learning principles for corrective functional exercise
    • Logical progressions of corrective functional exercises
    Conducting Postural Assessments

    Conducting Postural Assessments
    (Online Content, Online Quiz)

    Comprehensive postural assessments are essential in creating fitness programs for clients at all levels. Learn to assess posture for muscle-joint imbalances that could cause movement compensations and injury in the head, shoulders, spine, pelvis, hips, knees, ankles and feet.

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    Comprehensive postural assessments are essential in creating fitness programs for clients at all levels. Learn to assess posture for muscle-joint imbalances that could cause movement compensations and injury in the head, shoulders, spine, pelvis, hips, knees, ankles and feet. For information on how this course can contribute to your business, read ACE Exercise Physiologist Pete McCall's article on How to Successfully Market & Use Postural Assessments as a Training Service.

    The following information and techniques for assessing static posture have been adapted from The BioMechanics Method, an educational program created by ACE subject-matter expert Justin Price, M.A. More in-depth information regarding postural assessments and corrective exercise can be obtained through the course The Biomechanics Method Corrective Exercise Specialist.


    You will learn:

    • Appropriate timeframes to assess your clients' posture
    • The right angle rule to body design and alignment to plumb line
    • How to conduct a postural assessment and identify muscle-joint imbalances and compensations in the head, shoulders, spine, pelvis, hips, knees, ankles and feet
    • Limitations to the model
    ACE's Practical Guide To Exercise Coaching

    ACE's Practical Guide To Exercise Coaching
    (Online Content, Online Quiz)

    Review specific, in-depth techniques for spotting and cueing so your clients adhere to correct form and control throughout the entire range of motion. Use strategies based on functional movement principles and a better understanding of integrated movement, multiple open-and closed-kinetic chain exercises.

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    Proper form is the key preventing injury and maximizing the effectiveness of exercises that isolate individual muscle groups. Learn specific, in-depth techniques for spotting and cueing so your clients adhere to correct form and control throughout the entire range of motion. Use strategies based on functional movement principles and a better understanding of integrated movement, multiple open- and closed-kinetic chain exercises.


    You will learn:

    • How to set up commonly used fitness equipment to properly fit each client
    • Feedback and instructional cues to assure clients demonstrate correct form in stability, mobility and resistance-training exercises
    • Safe and effective techniques for spotting clients during exercise
    Biomechanics of Assisted Stretching

    Biomechanics of Assisted Stretching
    (Online Content, Online Quiz)

    Learn the three principles of force to help you determine where to place your hands, what direction to push, and how much force to use when helping your clients stretch. Discover safer and more effective ways to stretch your clients to aid in muscle recovery, as well as techniques for specific areas of the body.

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    Learn the three principles of force to help you determine where to place your hands, what direction to push, and how much force to use when helping your clients stretch. Discover safer and more effective ways to stretch your clients to aid in muscle recovery, as well as techniques for specific areas of the body.


    You will learn:

    • How the law of action-reaction relates to assisted stretching and how to apply it
    • To identify form errors that occurs when principles of force application have been violated
    • How stretching can help alleviate chronic lower back pain and peripheral neuropathies
    The Art of Fascial Line Training

    The Art of Fascial Line Training
    (Online Content, Online Quiz)

    Gain the knowledge and tools needed to make significant contributions to your clients' development through easy-to-implement, level-appropriate drill prescriptions and training guidelines. Learn to find safe, innovative, and effective training methods to help clients improve their movement skills while increasing strength and explosive power.

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    Gain the knowledge and tools needed to make significant contributions to your clients' development. This course aims to provide easy-to-implement, level-appropriate drill prescriptions and training guidelines for you to use with your athletes and clients. You'll also learn about a dynamic process you can follow to find safe, innovative, and effective training methods to help clients improve their movement skills while increasing strength and explosive power. The ultimate goal is to lead clients toward improved performance in sports and in life. To successfully complete the course, follow the format outlined in the workbook provided.


    You will learn:

    • To identify the characteristics of fascia
    • How the fascia and lines of fascia affect functional movement
    • How to train the fascial lines to improve function and performance

    The American Council on Exercise reserves the right to discontinue the sale and/or support of any continuing education course at any time, in order to cancel, correct, or update content based on current industry standards, guidelines, and/or technological advances. Notification will be given 6 months prior to expiration to allow for course completion and no refund will be given for expiring courses.