There are a seemingly endless number of options in the fitness space when it comes to mobility and movement programming. Everything from free YouTube channels to costly in-person guidance is available.
One of the more visible options these days is the 10-week online postural dysfunction course by Functional Patterns. Backed by a good number of 5-star reviews and a very persuasive marketing campaign, it’s an attractive option for anyone with movement issues, postural difficulties, or chronic pain.
After seeing the impressive case studies that Naudi Aguilar (founder and lead instructor at Functional Patterns) shares on Instagram and other social media outlets, I decided to take the $200 plunge and see if this course could help with my own movement, posture, and pain issues.
$200 is a lot for me to spend on what appeared to be essentially a mobility program, but as a long-time sufferer of back pain, I figured it was worth a shot. I’m always looking for new tools for my pain relief toolbox.
I bought the course (on sale for $149!) and followed it for the prescribed ten weeks.
Over that time, I committed 1 hour a day, six days a week, to the material. Based on that time investment, and in conjunction with a thorough knowledge of and working experience with other modalities, I feel I can give an in-depth review that will help you decide if this course might be right for you.
My Quick TLDR Review of the 10 Week Course
I do not doubt that the Functional Patterns system can work wonders when administered by a certified trainer, in person, for an extended time. However…
The Functional Patterns 10-week online course is not something I can recommend. Its few redeeming qualities are outweighed by the fact that it’s hard to follow, understand, and use. It’s missing some critical elements that all good online courses should have, and there are far better options on the market.
Is it worthless? No. Any decent program followed consistently can produce results. If you buy and follow this program, you will most likely see some improvement in your posture and ability to move with reduced pain. Especially if you don’t do anything now. This course is clearly better than doing nothing at all.
The problem is that there are much better systems available that are easier to use, cost less, and produce markedly better results.
Who is the Functional Patterns 10 Week Course designed for?
This type of programming can benefit anyone willing to put in the work. Virtually no one has perfect posture, core stability, or gait biomechanics. Because of this, we all have imbalances, and often, those imbalances result in chronic pain.
That said, I don’t think this course is beneficial if you already have an established movement practice. If you already have a well-designed mobility and stability practice in place, you’ll get very little from this course. If you do not, there will be a lot here for you to take in. But as I already mentioned and will outline at the end of this article, there are much better options available for most people.
What’s included with the Functional Patterns 10 Week Course?
- One year of access to the course material
- 12 hours of content presented over almost 100 videos
- Three weeks of myofascial release instruction
- One week of posture training
- Six weeks of integrated corrective exercise programming
The course is presented over ten weeks. Each week has a specific focus, and the weeks are laid out to build upon each other. One feature that I liked is that you cannot move on to the next week until seven days have passed since completing the previous week. This keeps you focused on the current week and its lessons.
Each week contains an average of ten videos that explain that week’s concepts in detail. The videos are high quality and well made with good audio.
What equipment is needed to complete the Functional Patterns 10 Week course?
I used five implements in working through the course material. You could probably get by with fewer, but I already owned four of the five, so I didn’t mind buying the fifth (a massage cane). Here’s the list of what I’d recommend having on hand when working through this course (I’ve provided a link to Amazon for each so you can see what they are along with pricing):
- Foam roller
- 10 lb medicine ball
- Massage cane
- A short piece of PVC pipe
- Lacross ball or small mobility ball
What’s the cost of the Functional Patterns 10 Week course?
The listed price of the course at the time I’m writing this review (October 2021) is $197.49. I’ve seen the retail listed as high as $300 in some of their marketing material, but I think that’s so they can show a more significant discount when having a sale.
If you follow Functional Patterns on social media, you’ll see regular sales that bring the course down to $149.
What are the pros and cons of the Functional Patterns 10 Week Course?
- Good video quality
- Well organized and easy to navigate
- Laid out in weekly classes
- Thorough instruction
- Clearly demonstrated techniques and movements
- The fundamental ideas are practical and effective if applied
- If you follow the course, you will see at least some results
- No refund policy
- 12-month access only
- Lacks specific programming
- No diagnostic tool or evaluation
- No test/retest
- Hard to navigate once the course is complete
- Intense time commitment (much more than other, more effective courses)
- Too much jargon makes it confusing and hard to follow
- Lessons could be half the length and just as effective.
Things I liked about the Functional Patterns 10 Week Course.
The course has high-quality videos and a lot of them. The system is well laid out in a thoughtful approach, and each section builds upon the previous one.
Each week has a comprehensive explanation and demonstration of all of the movements and exercises for that week. They are detailed and relatively easy to follow along with visually.
The movements and exercises are all practical and accessible for most people regardless of their current physical condition. If an appropriate amount of time and consistency is applied, most people will likely see some results.
One thing I particularly got a lot out of was the postural training week. Naudi’s explanation of how to stand up straight, starting with your feet and working your way up, is the best I’ve seen. I find myself using this lesson multiple times per day as I struggle to stand with good posture.
Things I didn’t like about the Functional Patterns 10 Week Course.
For me, there are two huge red flags right out of the gate. There is no refund policy or 30-day trial, and you only get access to the program for 12 months.
In today’s world of online courses, virtually all legitimate and helpful courses will have a no questions asked refund policy. Investing a non-refundable $200 before ever seeing the course content is a big drawback.
Another standard practice for online courses is that one-time payment courses all come with lifetime access and free updates over time. This is the kind of material you will want access to down the road. The fact that you don’t get that is another huge drawback.
When it comes to the material itself, I found myself disliking many aspects of it. That started at the very beginning when there was no diagnostic or screening tool. When it comes to mobility courses, it’s critical to have an upfront evaluation and have retests along the way to test your progress. This course offers neither.
Everyone has different mobility and movement issues, and without a test to evaluate your specific issues, you are flying blind. You have no way to know which areas need work and which don’t.
The course is so non-specific to individual needs that Naudi Aguilar, the course instructor, continually states that “you’ll just kind of have to figure things out for yourself.” Um, Naudi, I didn’t just pay you $200 to figure things out for myself. That’s your job!
To make this issue even worse, while there are many exercises and movements presented in the course, there is absolutely no specific direction as to which movement should be used, how often, or for how long. In other words, this is NOT a program. It’s a series of exercises (none of which I haven’t seen in other places) all given to you with no specific plan or direction on how to use them.
Instead of spending time on actual programming, we are subjected to Naudi using excessive jargon (apparently, we will need to figure all of that out on our own, too) to explain things. This is a common mistake you’ll see a lot of inexperienced personal trainers making. In their attempt to impress you with their knowledge (or to try to prove to you just how much they know), they unknowingly lose your attention and their effectiveness by making things virtually unintelligible.
Every video is riddled with this jargon. One random example, so you can see what I’m talking about, is, “When you go into an anterior pelvic tilt, you exacerbate your hyper lordotic curvature.” Ummmm, what?!?
The mark of a true master instructor is when they can take technical concepts and explain them so everyone understands them. Naudi has a very long way to go in this department. For more examples, watch nearly any video he posts on social media.
Does the Functional Patterns 10 Week Course produce results?
Yes. If you can make your way through the jargon, somehow figure out what to do with all the movements demonstrated, and devote an hour or more a day to this practice, you will see results.
The problem is that no self-directed course should need all those disclaimers.
I want to make sure I’m clear in that I have many more issues with the course itself than the concepts. I’d be willing to bet that if you hired a Functional Patterns certified coach who could give you an evaluation, design a program specific to your needs, meet with you regularly, and give you highly personalized instruction, you’d get amazing results.
And those are the same results that Functional Patterns shows on social media. It’s almost always people that have worked with one of their coaches and seldom people who have only used this particular course.
What are some alternatives to the Functional Patterns 10 Week Course?
First, as I mentioned above, if you want to dive into the Functional Patterns system and like Naudi Aguilar’s approach, seek out one of their coaches. Skip the self-directed course and go straight to someone who can work with you in person.
Outside of that, I have two highly effective recommendations that I’ve used for a very long time and love.
For those who want a one-time payment complete mobility and corrective exercise system, you can’t go wrong with MAPS Prime Pro by the guys at Mind Pump. I’ve written a comprehensive review of that system based on years of use that you can see here.
For those that want something a little more structured and provides you with daily guidance tailored to your specific needs, Kelly Starret’s The Ready State system will blow you away.
I’ve been using this system and app for about six months now, and the results have been astounding. I want to use it for a bit longer before writing a review, but you can check it out here.
The Ready State has an evaluation tool, gives you a score for several areas of your body, and then offers customized programming that addresses your specific results. It’s an incredibly deep and well-thought-out program and is produced by the single most highly respected person in the field of mobility, Kelly Starret. If you don’t mind a subscription-based model, this is a must-have tool in your fitness arsenal.
Being in pain and having movement and mobility issues is no fun. I know as I’ve battled them for a very long time. Chronic pain will cause you to try just about anything to alleviate it.
The marketing for the Functional Patterns course would like you to believe that all other modalities are not effective and can even be harmful. To me, this is an irresponsible approach.
Always be wary of someone who promotes themselves by tearing everyone else down. That’s never a sign of someone with much value to give.
I had high hopes for this course but was significantly disappointed. A big part of my reason for creating GymCrafter.com is to help people get the most from their home training. That not only means recommending things I love and use, but it also means being honest when I’ve wasted my money.
This is one of those times when I’ve wasted my money. Hopefully, this review will help at least some of you not do the same.