I often get asked “what kind of programs do you give to your clients and athletes?” Of course, my answer to that question is always, “it depends on the goal. Different goals require different training!”
That said, there is a particular programming concept, which we use at Performance U with every person (client and athlete) we work with, regardless of their goals and abilities. And, that concept is The 5 Pillars of Functional Movement.
The 5 Pillars of Human Movement
The 5 Pillars of Human Movement is a concept I adopted (more like stole) and slightly expanded on, from my great friend JC Santana, who first coined the 4 Pillars of Human Movement over 10yrs ago.
The 5 Pillars of Functional Movement are:
1. Rotation (striking, throwing, swinging an object, etc.)(any twisting action)
2.Pushing (moving something farther away from you)
3. Pulling (moving something closer to you)
4. Locomotion (walking, running, crawling, carrying, swimming, climbing etc.) (Anything that gets you from point A to point B can be considered “locomotion.”)
5. Raising & Lowering your center of mass (squatting, lunging, stepping, getting up and down off of the floor, etc.)
At Performance U, we believe ALL human movements can be simplified down to a variation and/or combination of the 5 pillars of functional movement.
For example: Running stairs (as shown above) is a combination of raising your center of mass and locomoting, while your torso is rotates and your arms (and legs) reciprocally push and pull.
In other words, we fell the 5 pillars of functional movement are the foundation from which all human movements are formed!
Note: In JC’s original 4 Pillars concept, he grouped pushing & pulling into one singe pillar. I’ve given each movement it’s own separate pillar because they are opposite actions, which require different training applications to improve.
The 5 Pillars of Functional Movement in Training!
Since all movements in life and sport are essentially derived from these 5 fundamental human movement patterns, we’ve found that building our programs around improving the 5 pillars of functional movement is a simple and super effective method of designing more comprehensive hybrid strength training & conditioning workouts for our clients!
Put simply, every hybrid workout program we design involves exercises that we feel will make our clients better at performing each of the 5 pillars of human movement.
In other words, regardless of your goal, age or ability, we will find exercises you can do (pain free, with good control) to improve your ability to Push, Pull, Twist, Raise and lower your body, and get yourself from point A to point B (i.e. locomote), in various ranges and directions.
Now, some programs we design may emphasize certain pillars more than others depending on individual needs. But, we still make sure each pillar is trained and worked toward improving upon.
Functional Movement Training Simplified!
Improving functional movement (a.k.a., functional training) can be a very complex, confusing, and a highly debated topic. But, as you can see by what I’ve given you here, it doesn’t have to be!
We’ve found that… If you get better at the 5 Pillars of human movement, the 5 Pillars will make you better able to do almost anything life throws your way.
It doesn’t get any simpler than that!
If you want to get your clients better at pushing stuff – have them do several variations ofpushing exercises in your training, using various angles, body positions, etc. And, the same goes for all the other pillars.
Sample Workout Splits Using the 5 Pillars!
If you’re doing total-body workouts, I’d recommend each workout you perform has at least one exercise for each of the 5 pillars of functional movement.
So, If you workout 3x per week, I’d say do a different exercise for each pillar.
For the Rotation Pillar - MON: Tight Rotations, WED: Pallof Press 2.0, FRI: Medicine Ball Rotary Throws
If you’re doing more of a split routine, here’s how we might set up a three day program:
MON – Locomotion, Rotation, Push
WED - Locomotion, Rotation, Pull
FRI - Locomotion, Rotation, Legs/Hips (i.e. raising and lowering your COM)
Note: Since the bulk of each workout will be spent on the underlined theme, a bit of locomotion and rotation is included each day to ensure enough training variety and volume is performed to stimulate a positive training response in those pillars.
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