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About Functional Strength

Welcome to Functional Strength!   We are here to provide high quality information and advice on how to preserve and prolong your life force. Functional strength is the strength that gets us through life and daily survival.  Often times we lose this functionality in our sedentary lifestyles.  This loss of functionality has a negative cascading effect to our health and well being.  Our goal is to help others regain their lost vitality and open the door to good health habits.

benefits of strength training

In The Beginning

About 25 years ago I met my husband, Marty Gallagher, at the gym. My name is Stacy. At that time in my life I decided to embark on a journey of becoming a personal trainer and secured a job working at a local fitness club. Marty came in for his 6am workout my second day on the job. He went to the bench area and loaded 315lb on the bar. He pulled the bar out of the rack and after a couple of reps had the bar stuck on his chest. I freaked because in my initial training for the position club liability had been dinned into my head. He proceeded to roll the loaded bar from his chest to his lap and sat up then rolling the bar across his knees putting it on the floor. I approached him angrily and he quickly introduced himself diffusing my state of mind. Years later he told me he had missed the rep on purpose hoping to catch my eye. Clearly his strategy worked.

At that time he was a staff writer for Weider Publications while working full-time and asked if I would help him in a copy editing capacity. I accepted his offer and began the fitness education of a lifetime. What I did not know in our initial encounter was that my future husband was a World Champion powerlifter and a prolific writer on all things fitness. I travelled with him to the top bodybuilding and powerlifting events and gained a vast array of training knowledge that I utilized in my own competitive bodybuilding goals. I competed in bodybuilding for about 7 years winning a Ms. Maryland title that qualified me to go to the National level. This was a formative time for me when I established nutrition and training habits that are my foundation still today.

Transformation Experiment

We were married in 1999 and moved to rural Waynesboro, PA. Marty walked away from his full-time job as a COO of a telemarketing firm to become a full-time writer. He hosted an hour long online fitness blog for the Washington Post for about three years. I continued for three more years to commute from Waynesboro,PA to K Street in D.C. working as an executive for Arthur Anderson as the Administrator of the Partner Financial Planning Program. Arthur Anderson was responsible for certifying the books for Enron. When Enron collapsed I found myself without a job and became a home school mom to my learning disabled/hearing impaired daughter.  With both of us home we embarked on a human transformation experiment for three months with a group of obese people.  The goal was to train them no more than 5 cumulative hours a week.


  • Weight training sessions would be performed 3 times per week utilizing squat, bench press and deadlift with sessions only lasting 30 minutes.
  • Outdoor walking cardio sessions would be performed 7 times per week with sessions also only lasting 30 minutes wearing a heart rate monitor.
  • We taught them how to purchase and cook healthy meals.

The Results

This was the proof that the system used by elite lifters could transform average folks safely and effectively. We began to host fitness camps at our house helping average folks walk through the same journey. Our impediment was reaching people. This was before the advent of social media. Most of our clients came from Marty's presence at the Washington Post. The question was how to reach a wider audience with these ideas. This is when Marty's opus magnus was born called "The Purposeful Primitive." His first book is highly acclaimed by strength elites all over the world.

In 2010 Marty began working with the Spec Ops community utilizing the same strength system. The operators have a limited amount of time to dedicate to progressive resistance so Marty's minimalistic system was a perfect fit. He consulted with operators both here and abroad coaching them through their strength training goals and inspiring them to compete in powerlifting meets. Operators often times land in remote places where there is no access to gym equipment. Marty was asked by them to assess potential suspension weight training devices that could be used when deployed. The two options were TRX and CrossCore. CrossCore had more versatility compared to TRX because of its pulley design. The book "CrossCore Hardcore" was created outlining how basic progressive resistance exercises could be replicated on a suspension training device.

Health Crisis

In 2012 I was in a terrible car accident where it was discovered that I had a grade 3 spondylolisthesis. This is a spinal disorder in which a bone (vertebra) slips forward onto the bone below it. The spondy was an old injury however it had taken its toll on my posture causing an extreme lordosis (curve in low back). I had spent years feeling uncomfortable with my posture and now I understood why. In the 1990s I had been drawn to zen meditation and yoga in an effort to feel more balanced with my body. Those efforts helped me to stay functional despite the extreme inbalance but did not fix the imbalance. I spent a year working with an amazing physical therapist who unlocked my body using Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS). This therapy can help reset the nervous system which establishes programs that control human posture, movement and gait.

Once my body was working in a more balanced way I was able to return to training. I used CrossCore Hardcore protocols instead of barbells and dumbbells because it allowed me to very incrementally increase my payload. My journey led me to in home personal training with older folks who felt intimidated by a gym environment but were highly motivated. CrossCore gave me the ability to give clients a great progressive resistance workout and identify poor posture within each movement. The squat, push and pull became my functional movement screen.

Our Goal

The exciting thing about our methods is that this system can transform anyone whether an elite or average person with a minimal amount of time commitment. When physical capabilities and capacities are improved trainees become more resistant to injury and retain function as they age.  Our protocols provide increased strength and vitality while strengthening the human guide wire system in such a way as to reduce and prevent injury.

We want to provide both the tools and education to people truly interested in physical transformation. We want to help people have a better quality of life by helping them to move better. Movement is the key to human longevity. The older we get the more essential it is to fight against the natural decline that occurs when we age. This challenges not only our physical state but also our mental state.

By improving the five bio-motor benchmarks of strength, speed, endurance, agility and flexibility the trainee is made stronger, fitter and more capable, regardless the task. The goal of this site is to share with trainess tried and proven modes and methods, techniques and tactics and help trainees to exercise critical thinking as it relates to physical training, nutrition and the subtle psychological aspects of the “transformative process.”

The dilemma is obtaining these important bio-motor attributes without having to devote an inordinate amount of time to obtaining strength and stamina. Is it possible to create a time-compressed fitness template that fits fitness into hectic lifestyles? Are there time-compressed training templates that deliver uncompromising results? The answer is YES!