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Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Certification Review (2024)

Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Certification Review (2024)

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on February 9, 2024 — Updated on February 22, 2024

Read this Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Certification Review to decide if the Certified Functional Strength Coach Certification is worth it and what the best personal training certification is for you.

Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Certification Review

This CFSC review will go into detail on the Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Certification, which is a comprehensive program that equips fitness professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become proficient in functional strength training. This certification is designed for individuals who are passionate about helping others achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall physical well-being.

Discover the ins and outs of the Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) Certification in this comprehensive review. And then whether you want to learn how to become a personal trainer, or learn how to become a fitness influencer, or learn how to open a gym, or learn how to start a fitness business, or anything in between, use the Exercise.com platform to accomplish your fitness business goals.

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CFSC Certification

The CFSC Certification focuses on teaching fitness professionals how to incorporate functional movements and exercises into their training programs. Functional strength training involves exercises that mimic everyday movements and activities, enhancing overall strength, stability, and mobility.

By becoming a CFSC certified coach, individuals gain the expertise to design effective training programs that address the specific needs and goals of their clients. This certification also emphasizes injury prevention and rehabilitation techniques, ensuring coaches can help clients overcome limitations and maximize their potential.

Functional strength training is a revolutionary approach to fitness that has gained popularity in recent years. It is rooted in the idea that training should reflect the movements and activities we perform in our daily lives. This type of training not only improves physical performance but also enhances overall functionality and quality of life.

Functional movements, such as squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, and rotating, engage multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously. They require coordination, balance, and stability, making them highly effective for building functional strength. By incorporating these movements into their training programs, CFSC certified coaches can help their clients develop a strong and capable body that can perform everyday tasks with ease.

The Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) certification is gaining recognition for its emphasis on practical, functional training methods designed to improve clients’ strength and mobility in everyday activities and sports.

The CFSC certification program is structured to educate fitness professionals on functional training principles, assessment techniques, and program design strategies to enhance overall strength and performance.

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CFSC General Information

This certification dives deep into functional movement patterns, corrective exercises, and innovative training methodologies to equip trainers with the skills necessary to address a wide range of client needs.

CFSC Credibility and Reputation

Endorsed by leading fitness experts and organizations, the CFSC certification is respected for its rigorous curriculum that combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on training experience.

For personal trainers and coaches who value a holistic, movement-based approach to strength and conditioning, the CFSC certification offers valuable insights and techniques that can be directly applied to client programs.

CFSC vs Other Top Strength Coaching Certifications

When compared to other strength and conditioning certifications, CFSC stands out for its practical application focus and its commitment to teaching safe, effective movement patterns.

Exclusive PTP CFSC Offers

Utilizing the best personal training software, CFSC-certified professionals can streamline their business operations, from program design to client communication, enhancing the overall effectiveness of their training services.

The CFSC certification is ideal for fitness professionals who wish to specialize in functional strength training, emphasizing movement quality and performance in both everyday life and athletic pursuits.


The CFSC certification offers various pricing options, providing access to comprehensive study materials, workshops, and support resources to accommodate different learning preferences.


The self-study package provides flexibility, offering online resources and materials for those who prefer independent learning at their own pace.

In-Person Workshops

CFSC also offers in-person workshops that provide hands-on experience and direct interaction with experienced instructors, enhancing the learning process.

CFSC Certification Review – Functional Strength Content Coverage

The CFSC curriculum covers essential topics such as functional anatomy, movement assessments, and the development of strength training programs that prioritize functional improvements.

Section 1 – Understanding Functional Movement

  • Exploration of fundamental movement patterns and how they relate to functional strength and daily activities.

Section 2 – Program Design and Implementation

  • Strategies for creating personalized, functional strength programs based on individual assessments and goals.

CFSC Exam Prep and Study Materials

CFSC provides a range of study materials, including online courses, textbooks, and video content, to prepare candidates for the certification exam effectively.

CFSC Certification Requirements

Candidates must complete the required coursework, attend a practical workshop (if applicable), and pass the CFSC exam to achieve certification.

CFSC Salary

Earning the CFSC certification can enhance a fitness professional’s marketability, potentially leading to higher income opportunities, especially when specialized in functional strength coaching.

Taking the Final CFSC Exam

The CFSC exam assesses a candidate’s understanding of functional strength principles and their ability to apply this knowledge in practical training scenarios.

CFSC Continuing Education and Recertification

CFSC-certified professionals are encouraged to pursue continuing education to maintain their certification status and stay updated on the latest functional training techniques.

Other CFSC Offerings

Beyond the core certification, CFSC offers advanced courses and specializations for fitness professionals looking to deepen their expertise in functional strength training.

CFSC Overall Rating


  • Strong emphasis on practical, hands-on learning and application
  • Focus on safe, effective functional movement patterns
  • Recognition within the fitness community for its comprehensive approach


  • The requirement for in-person workshops may not be convenient for all candidates
  • Investment in certification and continuing education can be significant

The Certified Functional Strength Coach certification provides an in-depth, practical approach to functional strength training, making it a valuable asset for fitness professionals focused on movement quality and performance enhancement. Leveraging the best gym software, CFSC-certified trainers can further enhance their service offerings, providing clients with personalized, effective training programs that translate to real-world strength and mobility improvements.

Understanding the Purpose and Benefits of the CFSC Certification

The CFSC Certification serves as a mark of excellence in the fitness industry. It demonstrates a coach’s commitment to continuous learning and professional development. It also provides coaches with the necessary tools and knowledge to deliver exceptional training experiences to clients.

One of the main benefits of the CFSC Certification is the ability to provide evidence-based training programs that deliver results. By focusing on functional movements, coaches can help clients build strength, improve flexibility, and enhance overall physical performance.

Moreover, the CFSC Certification equips coaches with the skills to assess their clients’ movement patterns, identify imbalances or limitations, and develop personalized training strategies to address these issues. This individualized approach ensures that clients receive tailored programs that are specific to their needs and goals.

Additionally, CFSC certified coaches have the skills to work with a wide range of clients, including athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals with specific rehabilitation needs. They are equipped to adapt and modify exercises to suit various fitness levels and abilities. This versatility allows coaches to cater to the unique needs of each client, providing a truly personalized training experience.

Overview of the CFSC Certification Process

The CFSC Certification process entails several steps. First, candidates must meet the prerequisites, which include being at least 18 years old and holding a valid CPR/AED certification. Additionally, a background in fitness or related fields is recommended but not required.

Once the prerequisites are met, candidates must complete the CFSC Certification seminar. This seminar provides comprehensive training on functional strength coaching, covering topics such as exercise selection, program design, and coaching techniques.

The seminar is led by experienced and knowledgeable instructors who provide hands-on demonstrations and practical exercises to enhance learning. Participants have the opportunity to ask questions, engage in discussions, and gain valuable insights from industry experts.

Following the seminar, candidates must pass both a written and practical exam. The written exam tests candidates’ knowledge of the core concepts and principles covered in the certification, while the practical exam assesses their ability to apply their knowledge in a coaching setting.

Successful completion of the CFSC Certification process demonstrates a coach’s competency in functional strength training and their commitment to providing quality training experiences to their clients. It opens up new opportunities for career advancement and allows coaches to differentiate themselves in a competitive industry.

Requirements for CFSC Certification

Prerequisites for CFSC Certification

Before embarking on the CFSC Certification journey, it’s important to meet the prerequisites set by the certification body. These prerequisites ensure that candidates have a solid foundation in fitness and are ready to take on the responsibilities of a CFSC certified coach.

The main prerequisites for CFSC Certification include being at least 18 years old and holding a valid CPR/AED certification. These requirements ensure that coaches have the necessary knowledge and skills to respond effectively in emergency situations.

Furthermore, candidates must also have a minimum of one year of experience in the fitness industry. This requirement ensures that candidates have practical experience working with clients and have a good understanding of the challenges and demands of the profession.

In addition to these prerequisites, candidates are also required to submit a letter of recommendation from a fitness professional who can attest to their skills and abilities. This letter serves as a validation of the candidate’s competence and commitment to the field of fitness.

Training and Education Requirements

In addition to the prerequisites, there are training and education requirements that candidates must fulfill to become CFSC certified coaches. These requirements ensure that coaches have a comprehensive understanding of functional strength training principles and techniques.

The CFSC Certification seminar serves as the primary training component, providing participants with in-depth knowledge about functional movements, exercise selection, and program design. The seminar is led by experienced instructors who provide hands-on coaching and feedback.

Attending the seminar is a crucial step in the certification process, as it allows candidates to learn directly from industry experts and gain practical experience in coaching functional movements. During the seminar, candidates will have the opportunity to practice coaching techniques, receive feedback from instructors, and collaborate with other aspiring coaches.

In addition to the seminar, candidates are also required to complete a specified number of hours of practical experience. This requirement ensures that candidates have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios, working with clients under the supervision of a qualified mentor.

Furthermore, candidates are encouraged to engage in ongoing professional development to stay up-to-date with the latest research and trends in the field of functional strength training. This can be achieved through attending workshops, conferences, and webinars, as well as reading industry publications and participating in online forums.

Exam and Assessment Criteria

After completing the CFSC Certification seminar, candidates must pass both a written and practical exam to become certified. These exams evaluate the candidates’ knowledge, understanding, and application of the concepts and principles covered in the certification.

The written exam consists of multiple-choice questions that test candidates’ theoretical understanding. It assesses their ability to identify and explain key concepts related to functional strength training, injury prevention, and rehabilitation techniques. Candidates are required to demonstrate a deep understanding of the principles and be able to apply them to various scenarios.

The practical exam, on the other hand, evaluates candidates’ coaching skills and their ability to apply their knowledge in a practical setting. Candidates are required to demonstrate proper techniques, effective coaching cues, and the ability to modify exercises based on individual needs. The examiners assess candidates’ ability to provide clear and concise instructions, correct form and technique, and provide appropriate modifications or progressions based on the client’s abilities and limitations.

In addition to the written and practical exams, candidates may also be required to submit a case study or a practical demonstration of their coaching abilities. This allows the certification body to assess candidates’ ability to design and implement effective training programs, as well as their ability to monitor and evaluate client progress.

Overall, the CFSC Certification process is designed to ensure that candidates have the necessary knowledge, skills, and practical experience to excel as functional strength training coaches. By meeting the prerequisites, completing the required training and education, and passing the exams, candidates demonstrate their commitment to professional growth and their ability to provide safe and effective coaching to their clients.

CFSC Certification Curriculum

Core Concepts and Principles Covered in the CFSC Certification

The CFSC Certification curriculum encompasses a wide range of core concepts and principles related to functional strength training. These concepts serve as the foundation for developing effective training programs and delivering high-quality coaching.

Some of the core concepts covered in the CFSC Certification include understanding movement patterns, assessing movement quality, and designing comprehensive programs that address individual goals and needs. Coaches also learn about the role of strength training in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

By mastering these core concepts, CFSC certified coaches can create training experiences that not only improve physical performance but also promote long-term health and well-being for their clients.

Practical Application of Functional Strength Training

One of the key aspects of the CFSC Certification is the practical application of functional strength training principles. Coaches learn how to incorporate functional movements into their training programs and how to adapt exercises to suit different fitness levels and abilities.

This practical application component allows coaches to provide tailored training experiences that address the specific needs and goals of each client. Whether working with athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or individuals recovering from injuries, CFSC certified coaches are equipped to deliver effective and results-driven training programs.

Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Techniques

Another important aspect of the CFSC Certification curriculum is injury prevention and rehabilitation techniques. Coaches learn how to identify potential risk factors and implement strategies to reduce the risk of injuries during training sessions.

Additionally, CFSC certified coaches gain a deep understanding of exercise modifications and progressions to support individuals in their rehabilitation process. They can design programs that safely and effectively guide clients through the recovery journey, helping them regain strength and mobility while minimizing the risk of re-injury.

CFSC Certification Exam Preparation

Study Materials and Resources for CFSC Certification

Preparing for the CFSC Certification exam requires a comprehensive study approach. Fortunately, there are various study materials and resources available to help candidates succeed.

The CFSC Certification provides a detailed study guide that outlines the key topics and concepts covered in the certification. This guide serves as a valuable resource for candidates to structure their study plan and prioritize their learning.

In addition to the study guide, there are online resources, video tutorials, and practice exams that candidates can utilize to reinforce their understanding of the material. Seeking out additional reading materials and research articles can also provide valuable insights and enhance exam preparation.

Tips and Strategies for Exam Success

To maximize their chances of success in the CFSC Certification exam, candidates can employ various tips and strategies to enhance their preparation and performance:

  1. Develop a study schedule and stick to it. Consistency and regular study sessions are crucial for retaining information and building a solid foundation of knowledge.
  2. Focus on understanding concepts rather than memorizing facts. The CFSC Certification exam tests candidates’ ability to apply their knowledge, so it’s essential to grasp the underlying principles.
  3. Practice answering sample questions and scenarios. This helps familiarize candidates with the exam format and builds confidence in their ability to apply their knowledge effectively.
  4. Form study groups or find a study partner. Collaborating with others allows for discussion, exchange of ideas, and the chance to test understanding by teaching concepts to others.
  5. Take care of physical and mental well-being. Getting enough sleep, eating well, and managing stress levels can significantly enhance brain function and cognitive performance.

CFSC Certification Review and Feedback

Pros and Cons of the CFSC Certification

As with any certification, the CFSC Certification has its pros and cons. Understanding these can help individuals determine if the certification aligns with their goals and career aspirations.

Some of the pros of the CFSC Certification include:

  • Comprehensive curriculum that covers fundamental concepts and practical coaching skills.
  • Recognition and credibility within the fitness industry.
  • Ability to work with a diverse range of clients, including athletes and individuals with specific rehabilitation needs.

On the other hand, some potential cons of the CFSC Certification include:

  • The financial investment required to complete the certification process.
  • The time commitment required for studying and preparing for the exam.
  • The need for continuing education and staying updated with the latest trends in functional strength training.

Career Opportunities with CFSC Certification

Job Roles and Settings for Certified Functional Strength Coaches

CFSC certified coaches have various career opportunities available to them. They can work in a variety of job roles and settings in the fitness industry, depending on their interests and specialization:

  • Personal Trainer: CFSC certified coaches can work as personal trainers, providing one-on-one coaching to clients and helping them achieve their fitness goals.
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach: CFSC certified coaches can work with athletes in sports performance facilities, designing training programs that enhance strength, agility, and overall athletic performance.
  • Rehabilitation Specialist: CFSC certified coaches can work alongside healthcare professionals, providing strength training programs for individuals recovering from injuries or managing chronic conditions.

CFSC Salary Potential and Growth Opportunities

The salary potential for CFSC certified coaches can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and job role. According to industry data, the average annual salary for personal trainers is around $40,000 to $60,000, while strength and conditioning coaches may earn between $50,000 to $70,000 per year.

However, it’s important to note that these figures are estimates, and individual salaries may vary. Moreover, the salary potential for CFSC certified coaches can increase over time with experience, additional certifications, and specialization in specific areas of functional strength training.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Advanced Training and Specializations for CFSC Certified Coaches

Continuing education and professional development are crucial for CFSC certified coaches to stay updated with the latest research, techniques, and industry trends. There are various advanced training options and specializations available for coaches looking to expand their knowledge and expertise.

Some potential areas of specialization for CFSC certified coaches include:

  • Advanced Program Design: Expanding knowledge in designing periodized training programs for specific sports and performance goals.
  • Sports Nutrition: Enhancing understanding of nutrition principles and their impact on athletic performance and overall health.
  • Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation: Further developing skills in injury prevention strategies and designing rehabilitation programs for clients with complex needs.

Staying Updated with the Latest Trends and Research in Functional Strength Training

To stay informed about the latest trends and research in functional strength training, CFSC certified coaches can engage in various activities:

  • Attending conferences, workshops, and seminars related to functional strength training and related fields.
  • Subscribing to industry journals and publications to access the latest research and insights.
  • Participating in online forums and discussion groups to connect with peers and exchange knowledge and ideas.
  • Following industry experts and thought leaders on social media to stay updated with their latest findings and recommendations.

The CFSC Certification is a comprehensive program that equips fitness professionals with the knowledge and skills to excel in functional strength training coaching. Whether you are an aspiring fitness professional or a seasoned coach looking to enhance your expertise, the CFSC Certification can provide valuable tools and resources to support your professional development.

Final Thoughts on the CFSC Certification Review

The CFSC Certification is a highly regarded certification in the fitness industry. It offers a comprehensive curriculum, practical application opportunities, and the potential for career growth. However, it’s important to consider the financial investment, time commitment, and the need for continuing education to maintain and enhance your certification.

If you are passionate about functional strength training, helping others achieve their fitness goals, and continuously learning and growing in the field of fitness, the CFSC Certification may be the right choice for you. It can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and recognition to excel as a Certified Functional Strength Coach.

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Is the Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) certification worth it?

The Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC) certification, developed by Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, is considered highly valuable for fitness professionals who wish to deepen their understanding and application of functional strength training. It’s especially beneficial for those looking to incorporate a functional training approach into their client programs, focusing on movement quality, injury prevention, and performance enhancement. Given its emphasis on practical, hands-on learning and its development by a renowned figure in the strength and conditioning field, the CFSC certification can significantly enhance your coaching skills and marketability.

How difficult is the CFSC exam?

The CFSC exam is known to be challenging but fair, focusing on both the theoretical knowledge and practical application of functional strength training principles. The certification process includes a hands-on practical exam component, where candidates must demonstrate their ability to apply what they’ve learned in real-world coaching scenarios, in addition to a written exam. Thorough preparation, including a solid grasp of functional training concepts and practical coaching experience, is key to successfully passing the exam.

How credible is the CFSC certification?

The CFSC certification is highly credible within the fitness industry, particularly for its practical, hands-on approach to functional strength training. Developed by Mike Boyle, a respected figure in strength and conditioning, the certification is recognized for its rigorous standards and commitment to quality coaching practices. It’s well-regarded among fitness professionals who value a functional approach to training and injury prevention.

How many people pass the CFSC exam on the first try?

Specific pass rate statistics for the CFSC exam on the first attempt are not publicly disclosed. However, the certification program is designed to be comprehensive and educative, aiming to equip trainers with the necessary skills and knowledge to pass both the practical and written components of the exam effectively.

What is the pass rate of the CFSC?

The CFSC program does not publicly share specific pass rate data for its certification exam. The program emphasizes thorough understanding and practical application of its principles, suggesting that candidates who engage fully in the learning process and hands-on training have a strong chance of success.

How does CFSC compare to other functional training certifications?

The CFSC stands out for its strong emphasis on practical, hands-on coaching skills in functional strength training, setting it apart from some other certifications that may focus more heavily on theory. Its development by Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, a leader in the field, and the requirement for a practical exam also differentiate it from certifications that may not include a hands-on component. When comparing CFSC to other functional training certifications, consider the specific focus, the reputation of the issuing organization, and the certification’s alignment with your career goals.

Is the CFSC exam open book?

The CFSC exam includes both a written and practical component. The written exam is not open book and tests your theoretical knowledge of functional strength training principles. The practical exam requires you to demonstrate coaching and exercise techniques in a hands-on setting, assessing your ability to apply the concepts learned in real-world scenarios.

How many times can you fail the CFSC exam?

The CFSC program allows for retakes if a candidate fails either the written or practical exam, but specific retake policies, including any associated fees and waiting periods, should be verified directly with the CFSC organization, as they may be subject to change.

What can I do with a CFSC certification?

With a CFSC certification, you can enhance your personal training or strength and conditioning coaching services by incorporating functional strength training principles into your programs. It’s particularly useful for working with clients of all levels to improve their movement quality, prevent injuries, and enhance athletic performance. The certification can open opportunities in sports teams, fitness centers, rehabilitation settings, and private coaching.

How expensive is the CFSC certification?

The cost of the CFSC certification varies based on the level (Level 1 or Level 2), location of the in-person practical, and any additional resources or workshops chosen. Typically, prices range from approximately $500 to $1,000. It’s advisable to check the official CFSC website or contact them directly for the most current pricing information.

What happens if you don’t pay CFSC?

Failure to fulfill financial obligations to the CFSC program could result in the withholding of certification materials, access to educational resources, or the issuance of the certification itself. Ensure all payments are completed as agreed to maintain your standing in the program and receive your certification.

How long is the CFSC certification good for?

The CFSC certification requires periodic recertification to ensure that trainers stay current with the latest practices in functional strength training. The specific recertification period and requirements, such as continuing education credits or fees, should be confirmed directly with CFSC, as these may be subject to updates or changes.

How can I learn more about functional strength training?

To learn more about functional strength training, consider pursuing specialized certifications like CFSC, attending workshops and seminars focused on functional training techniques, engaging in continuing education courses, and staying informed about the latest research and trends in strength and conditioning.

How can I integrate functional strength training into my fitness programs?

Integrating functional strength training into your fitness programs involves assessing clients’ movement patterns, designing programs that address individual needs and goals, emphasizing exercises that improve daily functional activities, and continuously monitoring and adjusting the programs based on client progress and feedback.

How can Exercise.com help me run a successful functional strength training coaching business?

Exercise.com can help run a successful functional strength training coaching business by providing comprehensive business management software tailored for fitness professionals. The platform includes customizable workout plan creation, client and class management, online coaching capabilities, progress tracking, and business automation tools, enabling you to efficiently manage your business and deliver high-quality functional strength training services to your clients.

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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