Lamar Lowery

Functional Fitness

The Personal Trainer's Guide

Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.



British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library


Original title: Functional Fitness – That's It! Lamars beste Workouts und Trainingspläne
Translation: AAA Translations, St. Louis, Missouri


Functional Fitness. The Personal Trainer's Guide
Maidenhead: Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd., 2016
ISBN 978-1-78255-425-7


All rights reserved, especially the right to copy and distribute, including the translation rights. No part of this work may be reproduced — including by photocopy, microfilm or any other means — processed, stored electronically, copied or distributed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher.


© 2016 by Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.
Aachen, Auckland, Beirut, Cairo, Cape Town, Dubai, Hägendorf, Hong Kong, Indianapolis, Manila, New Delhi, Singapore, Sydney, Tehran, Vienna


Member of the World Sport Publishers‘ Association (WSPA)

ISBN 978-1-78255-425-7

Foot Notes


For reasons of readability we decided to use the male (neutral) speech form throughout this book, which of course also includes the female form.

The contents of this book were carefully researched. However, all information is supplied without liability. Neither the author nor the publisher will be liable for possible injuries or damages resulting from this book.

1 Introduction – Who is Lamar Lowery?

When you see me, Lamar Lowery, you will inevitably think of an action figure that has come to life. As a six-foot, five-inch American model athlete with dual German-American citizenship, I am a constant commuter between the old and the new world. My job: personal trainer.

For 38 years, I, Lamar Lowery, born in Manhattan, NY in 1966, have been training athletes, executives, and many other groups of people, with innovative training methods built around functional fitness. I was convinced from the start that a structured approach—by the way, a rather German mindset—determination, and regular continued education, or rather, information, in the areas of training, tactics, and research can produce great results in the health and wellness industry. I have always considered this tenet in my own training.

Trainer Activity

World Sport West End, Wetzlar, Germany
Maritim Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany
Hilton Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany

Personal Trainer

part-time coaching


Personal Training Company, Palm Beach, Florida

Harmony Training With Lamar

MS in Sales Representative Consulting & Training GmbH, Wetzlar, Germany

Personal Trainer

founding of the Lamar Functional Training Academy

I have always dreamt of having my own training facility. For 15 years, I have been a successful personal trainer in Germany, have been working with the leaders of large companies as well as many celebrities, and have been a contributor to trade journals. Eight years ago, I founded the Lamar Functional Training Academy. “My” functional training is comprised of individual exercises that are specifically geared to the client’s respective activities. My clients include the very busy Frankfurt executive as well as the successful businesswoman from Gießen or the retiree who wants to improve his golf handicap.

To me, as a health professional, a good education, a well-trained eye, and lots of experience are the most important qualifications for the success of clients and trainers. Thanks to these foundations I am also able to help those recovering after an operation or injury to eliminate pain. Many people suffering from back pain feel fit, healthy, and resilient again after a specific workout with me. I live by my conviction: Targeted functional training is the best training for everyday life.

2 Functional Training

Functional training is not new; rather we have encountered it for several years, and it is probably one of the currently most overused terms in the fitness industry. An Internet search of functional training will produce 23,600,000 hits.

In the fitness industry there is the phenomenon of the market pendulum trending heavily in a certain direction on the spectrum of offerings. Currently it is the area of functional training. There was a time when many trainers used what I like to call the “Cirque de Soleil” training method. The philosophy behind this method excoriated any training exercise less complex than a one-armed shoulder press with a dumbbell while standing on one leg on a BOSU balance trainer as not functional and not suitable for everyday life. The problem with this philosophy is twofold. For one, the likelihood of executing a one-armed shoulder press with a weight while standing on one leg on an unstable surface is relatively low in everyday life, and, secondly, the more instability we add to an exercise, the smaller the load we can tolerate.

This type of training allows us to overload the central nervous system but hardly allows us to overload the musculature to create the necessary training stimulus—an example of a concept that could have some value but was overused. The reaction to this extreme philosophy was a big swing of the pendulum in the opposite direction. Suddenly the use of stability balls and balance boards in training was viewed in a negative light, and some trainers and therapists completely banished useful training aids from their sphere of activity.

While many people tend to believe that there is only one superior form of training and everything else that doesn’t fit this philosophy is of no value, I believe that there are and should be many different effective forms of training. Anything that helps us reach our goals should be used. When I talk about functional fitness, I talk about the ability to improve daily functionality through movement patterns that we humans use every day—simple, effective workouts without a safety net and false bottom.

The one-sided activities in our jobs and recreation often result in a general lack of movement along with poor posture, decreased fitness, and, thereby, lower quality of life. The current trend is “back to the roots,” away from extreme sports and exaggerated weight loss, back to balanced exercise where the focus is on increased well-being and disease prevention.

My functional training draws on tried and tested training principles and combines them in an efficient manner. It adopts the body’s natural tasks, its movements and functions, and practices movement patterns from everyday life to balance body, spirit, and soul and to preserve that balance long-term.

The goal of functional training is to “wake up” the body and give it mobility for life. This is done through

The exercises in my functional training program make people stronger, more powerful, and draw from many training philosophies. My long-time international experience in fitness training and ongoing exchange with personal trainers in the US make my concept unique. This book provides an insight into my world of functional fitness training.

Fig. 1: Functional training with Lamar

2.1 Definition

Functional training is a revolutionary training method from the US with ancient roots. Functional training can be labeled as the latest hype or as the catchphrase of the sports scene. At the same time, the content of this form of training is still hotly debated. The best way to define this form of training is to take a closer look at the original meaning of the individual words.

Function can be defined as carrying out an action for which a person is specifically equipped or intended for. Meaning, a function has a specific purpose.

Training, on the other hand, denotes a complex process that induces an altered development by processing stimuli. In summary, you could say that functional training develops or practices movements the body was built for with the goal of achieving an altered, ideally improved, sense of well-being, meaning purposeful training. But purposeful is relative because it is always subject to the individual situation. Thus, we can train a mason so he is able to execute his activities of heavy lifting, bending, stretching, and diagonal reaching particularly effectively, while the older woman needs the necessary leg strength and coordination to walk up the stairs to her third-floor apartment, and the elite soccer player needs, next to speed, strength and endurance, particularly good reaction ability, and ball coordination. All of these factors cannot be viewed as separate.

The human body is an extremely complex work of art. The constant interplay between different body systems and their individual parts enables the functions that define our lives. With its present-day “construction,” adapted to its respective environment, the human body is the product of a long evolutionary process.

We must, therefore, also allow an individual scope for functional training—a scope that personal trainers such as I use for the benefit of the client and to achieve the best-possible results.

In summary, functional training has the following characteristics:

In doing so, it follows five global principles:

  1. Integrate, not isolate. Training complex movement sequences, meaning not just isolating individual muscles, but rather entire muscle chains the way they are also used in everyday life.

  2. Multidimensional bandwidth. Training movement patterns from daily life (everyday life, job, sports) that require the use of multiple joints on different planes.

  3. Quality over quantity.

  4. Use the body’s own stabilizers, especially core stability instead of external stabilizers, such as chairs or benches.

  5. Address correctable compensations and dysfunctions.

Body awareness and coordination are important parts of training within all of these principles. There is also emphasis on muscle and joint mobility, areas that unfortunately still don’t receive enough attention in some forms of training but that are very important for good quality of life and injury prevention in sports.

2.2 The Philosophy Behind Complete Training – Fundamentals of Functional Fitness

We refer to the three main systems that essentially provide the functions of the human body in our daily lives: the central nervous system, the nervous system, and the muscle system. Another system, the skeletal system, should also be taken into account.

These systems form a kind of symbiosis. A comparison from the realm of technology would be the car in which one important part cannot function without another. For instance, the engine cannot work without the fuel supply and ignition system, which in turn cannot work without electricity, and the cooling system is also crucial. Then there is the transmission, the chassis, wheels, and tires. But the body and windows as well as the entire interior make no sense without the previously mentioned systems and are what makes a car a car with all of the functions we humans expect. If we removed all of the technology and its interconnectedness we would be left with the car’s “nude body,” the shell. We must, therefore, understand how important it is that each individual system functions, because each system becomes the problem of the whole if it does not function properly.

Fig. 2: The central nervous system, the nervous system, and the musculature as central systems of the human body

Fig. 3: View of the human muscular system

To keep this interplay intact, the individual organs in the human body must be connected directly or indirectly, much like the wires and parts of a car. The skeleton that lends the body support and shape makes such connections possible. Nearly all organs are in contact with each other and, at the same time, are protected through a framework of cartilage and bone, which is also the comprehensive network of the fascia. Vital substances such as red blood cells for oxygen transport and mineral salts are provided courtesy of our bones. Moreover, lots of receptors in the fascia provide an extensive exchange of information.