EP 16 – Vern Gambetta – Functional Movement and the Essential Ingredients for Coaching Kids


Instead of typical gym routines that isolate individual muscles – like biceps curls, knee extensions, and bench press – functional training favours exercises that get you on your feet and replicate the multidirectional, full-body motion of sports.

My guest on the show today is considered the founding father of such training. His name is Vern Gambetta, and he advocates strongly for training movements, not muscles, a belief that sprouted after taking part in biomechanics research conducted by Nike, where to his surprise, he learned that many of the common assumptions of machine-based strength training were false.

Vern earned a Master of Arts in Education, with an emphasis in Physical Education, from Stanford, and hold undergraduate degrees in Physical Education and Social Science.

He foundered the GAIN network, a community of professionals eager to learn and willing to share ideas and information on athletic development, and lectures and consults all over the globe in elite level, and developmental, sporting environments.

Some of Vern’s work includes:

  • Co-founder of the USA Track & Field coaching education program.
  • Director of Athletic Development at the New York Mets.
  • Assistant conditioning coach for Chicago Bulls.
  • Consultant to San Francisco Forty Niners, and Kansas City Chiefs
  • Consultant with the San Jose Sharks, Ice Hockey team.
  • Conditioning coach for Monica Seles.
  • Consultant to the Carmel Swim Club and the Harvard University Women’s Swimming team.
  • Conditioning coach for Tampa Bay Mutiny and the US Men’s World Cup Football team.

On the show today I chat with Vern about what he’s learnt from coaching, and improving the athleticism of his athletes, over the past 40 years.

Connect with Vern via:



The GAIN Network