Movements Not Muscles


Movements Not Muscles


You send your cars to the mechanic, you send your kids to tutors, you enlist advisors for your finances, yet you have full capabilities of creating your own workout program??  Get real.  Your program consists of bench press, lat pull-down, bicep curls, and triceps push downs.   3 sets of 10 for everything, rinse and repeat every day, and you wonder why you never make any progress…

Everybody should look in a mirror, and train what you CAN’T see more than what you can see.  What does that mean?  It means your back is probably weaker than it should be, your glutes are underdeveloped, and you don’t train your hamstrings.  You probably look like a bulldog.  Your shoulders are rounded forward, you can’t fully extend your elbows, and you feel like you’re choking if you put your hands over your head.

Now don’t get all pissed off yet; you’re working hard and doing better than those who aren’t in the gym, but you could be getting more bang for your buck if you put your hard work towards working smart and working hard.

Your body doesn’t move in muscles.  It moves in patterns.  So train your body in movement patterns.  Now that probably offended a lot of bodybuilders, so let’s dive into that a little deeper… If you are a competitive bodybuilder and are looking solely for aesthetics and symmetry, then by all means, isolate and train the shit out of the muscle group.  But get ready to dedicate at least 2 hours per night in the gym, and completely lock down your nutrition, give up all restaurants, and drinking alcohol.

But if you are looking to get strong, look like you work out, move better, be pain free, and still enjoy a burger and a beer, keep on reading…

There are 4 essential movement patterns, and if you read anything Dan John puts out, there’s 4+1. So if you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years and haven’t read his work, start. (You’re welcome).

Push, pull, hinge, bend at the knee, add the 5th, and call it the core (although I’m not in love with the term).  If you are under the Dan John school of thought, the 5th is loaded carries.  Let’s break this down by category…



The great thing about these patterns is that they are very simple.  A pushing pattern simply means to push something away from you or to push yourself away from something else.  There are two pushes…. horizontal and vertical.  Now going back to you looking like a bull dog, you should put less emphasis on pushing and focus more on pulling, but a good sound program will have both.

Horizontal:  Bench press, dumbbell press, push ups, 1 arm dumbbell bench, cable press, etc.

Vertical: military press, push press, 1/2 kneeling press, handstand push ups, etc.



Pulling movements simply mean, pull something towards your body or pull your body towards something else.  Pulling is underutilized by the majority of people in the gym. Your back musculature goes back up to the mirror test.. you can’t see your back facing a mirror, so you should probably train more pulls than pushes.  A lot of really smart people say 2:1 pull to push ratio just to be safe.  Just like pressing, there are two variations…horizontal and vertical.

Horizontal:  1 arm row, seated cable row (but stand your lazy ass up, you already sit too much) 1 arm cable row, and probably the best thing you can do for your scapular health are ring rows.

Vertical: Lat pull downs (don’t be lazy and stand up), X-pull downs, pull ups, chin ups.  If you are a pull up ninja, stop doing so many reps, and try adding external loads for fewer reps.



This is single handedly the biggest movement pattern missed by the majority of gym-goers.  The hinge is a movement that is initiated through the hips.  With the amount of time people sit down, people forget how to use their asses.  Well luckily there are ways to wake them up…

There are numerous ways to train the hip hinge movement, but first, you need to be able to do it properly.  This means with a flat back.  Start by using a dowel that is in contact with the back of your head, mid back, and backside.  Then push your butt backwards until you are at about 45 degrees.

Now there is another thing we need to take into consideration when we are going to train the hinging pattern.  You need to be able to touch your toes.  This is something you need to do on a daily basis, if you have a job where you can’t wear flip flops and have to tie your shoes every day.  If you can’t touch your toes, you need to Google the name Michael Mullin, or any other PRI expert, and start with that before anything else.  But that is a whole different can of worms to dive into.

For this article, let’s assume you can touch your toes and you can do a hip hinge with a PVC pipe or dowel…

Hinge: Deadlift, trap bar deadlift (it’s a hybrid movement), RDL, kettlebell swing variations, single leg deadlift, hip thrust.


Knee Dominant

Knee dominant movements are movements in which you are bending at your knees.  This movement can be done with both legs on the ground, or with only one.  Again, these patterns are very simple, bend at your knees.

Knee Dominant: squats, lunges, split squats, rear foot elevated split squat, pistol squat.



When most people hear the word core training, they think of thousands of sit ups, crunches, and those useless side bend things.  Well hopefully this will teach you how to truly create core strength. If you are looking for the aesthetics of a 6-pack, lower your body fat %.

First off, think of anti movement for this one.  Your core is made to resist movement, not create movement.  When people fail to stabilize their core, they typically end up rotating with their lumbar spine (which isn’t made to rotate) and end up with back pain.  For simplicity, think of Dan John’s loaded carries as the Core’s awesome +1 date.

Anti-core training

Anti-(Lateral)Flexion-  this is where the loaded carries play a huge role. Farmers carries, 1 arm farmers carries, X-Walks, bottoms up kettlebell carries, rack carries. Essentially carrying any external load will cause you to start to hunch over (flexion).  Resist that feeling, and stay tall.

Anti-Rotation-  Pallof Press variations have to be your go to here.

Anti-Extension-  Swiss ball stir the pots, ab wheel roll outs, body saws. Or any plank variation.


Putting it all together..

Ok, great.  You learned all of the movement patterns and now have some ideas of what those patterns look like. Now what?  Put them all together into a badass workout. Here’s an example of a 3 day split.

      Day 1

Push- Vertical

Hip- Bilateral Variation

Core- 2 Hand Carry

Mobility–  Upper Body Stretch/Mobility Drill

Pull- Horizontal

Knee- Single Leg

Core- Anti- Extension

Mobility- Lower Body Stretch/Mobility Drill

        Day 2

Push- Horizontal

Hip- Single Leg

Core- 1 Hand Carry

Mobility–  Upper Body Stretch/Mobility Drill

Pull-  Vertical

Knee- Bilateral

Core- Anti-Rotation

Mobility–  Lower Body Stretch/Mobility Drill

       Day 3

Push- 1 Arm  Vertical

Hip- Bilateral Variation

Core-  Loaded Carry (Waiter’s Walks, X-Walk, Bottoms-Up Walk)

Mobility–  Upper Body Stretch/Mobility Drill

Pull-  Horizontal

Knee- Single Leg

Core- Anti-Extension

Mobility–  Lower Body Stretch/Mobility Drill


If you have any other questions about movement patterns or setting up your own workout.  Contact for more information.


5 Core Exercises You Should Be Doing


If you want washboard abs, get your nutrition locked down.  If you want actual core strength keep on reading..

Washboard abs without core strength is like a brand new tire without any tire pressure (paraphrasing from Dan John).  The ability to create internal pressure is hugely important in not only lifting but also in sports performance.  With that being said:

The mindset behind core training is shifting to “anti-core” training. Your core is meant to be stable, not to be moving. It is important to be able to resist motion.

So ditch the Russian twists and crunches and start incorporating these exercises when you’re in the gym if you want to take your core strength to the next level.

  1. Roll Outs think about keeping a straight line from your knees to your hips to your shoulders. Keep your back flat, and don’t let your core sag downward.  To make this movement easier, start by using a Swiss ball, progressing from there would be an ab wheel with a limited range of motion like in the video above.
  2. Loaded Carries–  pick up two heavy kettlebells, or two dumbbells and go for a walk.  Keep the best posture you can, and brace your core.  A very strong person would be able to carry their bodyweight (1/2 in each hand) for the length of a football field.
  3. Palloff Presses-  get into a 1/2 kneeling position, with your inside knee down and position your body perpendicular to the cable machine. Have the handle at mid-chest height. Keep shoulders and hips square and press both hands away from your body.  Make sure you do a set facing each direction.
  4. Swiss Ball Stir the Pots- start by holding a low plank on a Swiss ball.  From there, keeping legs straight and back flat, rotate your arms in a circular motion.  Make sure to do a set clockwise and counter clockwise.  The bigger the circle, the harder it’ll be.  A wider stance with your legs will make this easier.
  5. Body Saws-  Using a set of floor sliders, or a towel on a wooden floor, start in a low plank position with your toes on the sliders.  Move your body backwards without compensating the plank position.  For a more challenging version, perform in a push up position or by lifting one foot off the ground.

For more tips and tricks about training and sports performance, make sure to check back in for more information or email me at

3 Ways to Improve Your Game This Winter


Fitness in golf is nothing new. Tiger was probably one of the first big name golfers to popularize strength training, and, since then, it has recently caught on like wild fire with people like Rory, Jason Day and countless others. However, it is not only the PGA Tour guys who can benefit from strength training. In my opinion, everyday people will actually benefit more.  I have compiled a list of 3 ways that will keep you out of pain when you are golfing and get you golfing better.

If you work on these three things, you will be able to hit the ball farther, play more often, and play pain free.

  • Increase your mobility
  • Get Stronger
  • Move More Often


 1. Increase your mobility

One of my favorite golf movies is Happy Gilmore, and according to Chubbs, “It’s all in the hips.”  I totally agree with that, however, I would change the quote to say, “It’s all in the hips, and thoracic spine.”  Not as catchy, I know, but hear me out.  Stereotypically, golfers are business people who either sit at their desk or in their car for hours every day. With all the iPhones, iMacs, iPods, and iWhatevers, our posture has become atrocious.  Our shoulders are rounded forward, we have a huge forward head posture and we look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Our mothers are all ashamed.  All of the research is showing that sitting down is terrible for us, and once you hear that it is hurting your golf game, you may be sleeping standing up. Because of the sitting, we can’t move our hips well which means we aren’t able to transfer our weight.  In turn, we lose power.

Better Hips = Better Power

more power meme

Lack of mobility in the hips is also the cause for a lot of lower back pain. If we cannot rotate with our hips correctly, we compensate by rotating with our lower back which isn’t made to rotate; it is made to be stable.

As for the upper half of the body, the lack of mobility is much more evident.  This will actually change your golf swing with things such as early extension and other compensations (contact your local TPI professional, who can teach you more about that.). When we constantly sit with bad posture, our upper back becomes weaker, and our chest becomes super tight.  By increasing the mobility in our T-Spine (mid back) and stretching out our chest, we can get into proper positions for an ideal golf swing.

Like I mentioned before, our low back should be stable.  If we have low back pain, chances are our hip mobility or thoracic spine mobility is junk.  Think of it as an alternating pattern of mobility vs. stability.  If one joint doesn’t do its job correctly, another area will compensate and thus create pain.  Get everything doing its job, and we will be pain free.

Here are three great drills to start with for hip mobility:

  • Foam Rolling
  • Spiderman Steps
  • Pigeon Stretch

Here is a great link to Mike Boyle talking about hip mobility for golfers:

2. Get Stronger

I’m not just talking about your bench, Bro.  Two areas specifically tend to be weaker than they should be with most people: your gut and your butt. Again, it comes from sitting more than we should.  Both of these areas go back to point number one about mobility and posture.  We will go into further depth about the glutes, and try and change your thinking on “core” training.

From hours and hours of sitting, we tend to “forget” how to use our backside to initiate movements.  This goes into a brain and body connection, but that is better left for another day.  The short and skinny of it, is that we need to wake up your backside.  One of my favorite tools for this is a mini band.  They are super cheap and super effective.  Mini band movements will target your gluteus medeus which most people will feel as the outside of their hip.  When our glutes aren’t firing as well they need to be, certain things falter:  hinging patterns won’t happen effectively, our squats will look funky, and bridging will be difficult.  Below I will show you three of my favorite “activations” to awaken your booty.

Going back to the “Do your job” motto, we need to get your core doing its job.

belichick meme.png

Your core needs to be stable.  Meaning, we want to be able to keep our midsection strong while moving our extremities.  With golf being a rotational sport, anti-rotation core training will make a huge difference in your game.  Anti just meaning stopping rotation, or being able to resist rotating.  I will list out three anti-core training movements that you should be doing.

3.  Move More Often

Motion is the lotion in this case as in any case with the law of inertia.  Once you get moving in the gym it’s easier to keep going.  If you are sedentary, it is more difficult to start being active.  So get moving and stay moving.  Whether it is taking a yoga class, resistance training a couple days a week, or taking the dog for his daily walk; if you do it regularly, it will be easier to keep doing it.


free stuff meme

Find A Coach

Everybody needs a coach.  Whether it’s a TPI Medical Professional or Golf Professional, a sport psychologist, a strength coach, a lifestyle coach, dietician,  a whatever coach, it doesn’t matter.  Pick the most important thing that will get you to your goal, and get a coach.  Was Phil Jackson a better basketball player than Jordan? HELL NO, but did Phil make Jordan a better player? Yes.  Trust me, you’re not too good or too advanced for a coach.  Nobody is.

Finding a good coach is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.  A coach will keep you accountable, keep you on track, and be honest with you.  Entrusting someone with helping you attain your goals can be a little unsettling, so finding the right person can be a little challenging.  But do your due-diligence, call in any favors you may have, and network as much as you need to, and find the right person that will get you to where you want to be.

If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to having the best season of your life on the course, and improving your overall quality of life in the process.  If you have any other follow up questions, or would like help finding a coach near you, please feel free to email me at