Filling the Cracks in the Fitness Training Foundation

Over the years we have worked with thousands of clients and fitness professionals. One thing that we have noticed with the majority of the programs that people are doing is that people are skipping very small steps in their training programs.

Let’s face it, people want to get after it, work hard, and do the most challenging exercises possible. This way they can get the best results possible as fast as possible. The problem is, this theory has a major flaw. Don’t get me wrong, we both think it’s good to get after it and work as hard as possible, but when a small step is skipped, the entire process becomes dysfunctional.

Does this even apply to you? Do you have clients that:

Have a lot of 1’s on the FMS
Have movement quality issues
Keep getting nagging injuries
Always have bad form
Are elderly
Are athletes that need top-notch movement prep

I’m positive that you do, because we ALL have at least some clients like this. So what do you do to make sure you are not skipping any steps in your training programs?

We build solid foundations with our clients by taking them through developmental sequencing, or developmental movement re-patterning.  This process takes you through corrective exercise progressions for each developmental position, allowing you to re-build your clients just like we developed as babies in the first place. This sequence has been proven time and time again to be extremely effective in fixing any issues your clients may have, making them as injury free, and efficient as possible.

The key is to make sure that your client has proper posture and breathing in each position.

Just start your program with the movements that your clients can do in good posture with good breathing. You may be surprised at the compensations that you see when put your clients in perfect form and ask them to take a breath in certain positions during that movement. If they can’t control a movement in this program while exhaling, they are not ready to move on.

*For more info check out an earlier blog post with an in-service on proper posture and breathing by position

Here are the basic positions that we need to see proficiency in before progressing to the next position.

  • Supine position
  • Prone position
  • Rolling
  • Quadruped Position
  • Prone 2
  • Crawling
  • Kneeling Position
  • Transitional Movements like Turkish Get Ups
  • Bilateral Stance, Split Stance, and Stride Stance

Here is an example of a foundational progression starting in the first position, supine.

  • Supine Breathing
  • 3 Month Breathing
  • Pelvic Tilt
  • Supine Cross Connecting
  • Leg Lowering 1
  • Leg Lowering 1.5
  • Dead Bug with Arms and Legs
  • Dead Bug with Cross Connect

Once the client is proficient on these exercises and demonstrates proper breathing throughout the movements we progress them to the next position, prone, on so on until they are proficient in all the foundational positions.

We think of this program like a continuum. We can either start at the beginning of the continuum or use the Functional Movement Screen to show you were to begin on the continuum to expedite the process.

Here is our rationale on how that works:

  • Active Straight Leg Raise = Supine
  • Shoulder Mobility = Supine or Prone
  • Rotary Stability = Rolling, Quadruped, or Crawling
  • Trunk Stability Push Up = Prone 2
  • In Line Lunge = ½ Kneeling or Split Stance
  • Hurdle Step = Rolling, ½ Kneeling, and Stride Stance
  • Overhead Deep Squat = Too much of a gray area


Fitness Training Foundation

Honestly, any of these issues could stem from a problem in the supine position, but this is just a general guide to show how the Functional Movement Screen relates back to developmental sequencing as well.

We want to make this easy for you.

Obviously learning the entire process is more than a blog post. That is why we have put together a list of our top foundational exercises progressions for each position, videos for each, and step by step instructions in our newest resource: Building a Foundation

Check it out and let us know what you think. Also, what are your thoughts and developmental sequencing? Let us know in the comments sections below.

Steve Long


For more information on Building a Foundation, click the link below