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When looking to train a new client or athlete, its important the we create an optimal foundation to improve movement patters, prep for exercise and most importantly avoid injury. In this article we are going to explore what the pillar is and how to structure it into your programming for your clients.

What Is The Pillar Made Up Of?

  • Shoulders/Scap
  • Thoracic Spine
  • Lumbar Spine
  • Pelvis
  • Hips

Joint By Joint Approach – Mike Boyle & Gray Cook

  • Shoulder/Scap STABILITY
  • Thoracic Spine MOBILITY
  • Lumbar Spine STABILITY
  • Ankle MOBILITY

Joints that have a large amount of mobility require a large amount of stability work to avoid injury. For example the shoulder has such large movement and mobility capability that dislocations occur frequently as injuries. In order to avoid this look to improve overall stability & strength in that region.

When looking to improve stability of the spine, look to strengthen muscles that attach to the spinous processes such as multifidi, rotatories, erector spinae.

To effectively target the abdominal region and to improve strength and stability look to work through force conducting exercises rather than force generating exercises. This can include anti rotational work as well as anti flexion.

The Role Of The Nervous System

The nervous system coordinate muscle movement through muscle recruitment and managing that movement based on sensory feedback.

The system has innate patterns that it calls upon to begin and develop movement patterns. Immediately at birth we have neurological patterns that facilitate survival. The first being breathing, the second being reflex to fill the need for food. This is the basis of our movement – survival.

Habitual movement helps develop patterns that are unique to each persons movement signature.

Our goal is to prime the nervous system so it can perform optimally and utilise the full mobility and potential of the body.

To move effectively and individual must have proximal stability of the pelvis.

Implementation Of Pillar Preparation.

Stage one of implementation is to screen the client/athlete and identify any mobility, stability or movement deficits.

Movement Session Structure

  • Pillar Prep
  • Movement Prep
  • Plyometrics
  • Movement Skills
  • Regeneration

Strength Session Structure

  • Pillar Prep
  • Movement Prep
  • Strength/Power
  • Energy System Development (ESD)
  • Regeneration

Pillar Prep Components

Soft Tissue –> Mobility –> Stability

Soft Tissue

  • Tension & Adhesion


  • Restore symmetry
  • Increase ROM (Range of Motion).


  • Motor Control
  • Proper Sequencing Patterns.

When starting the activation or stability section of pillar prep its important to start with simple stability movements such as scap control drills and trunk control drills before moving onto more complex movements such as squatting and lunging drills.

True spinal stability is achieved with a balanced stiffening from the entire musculature. Focusing on a single muscle generally does not enhance stability but creates patterns that result in less stability.


Its important to know when to train the pillar. Training and priming the pillar should be at the beginning of each and every session you run through with your client or athlete.

Consider your clients needs, abilities and limitations when addressing the pillar. Prioritise soft tissue, mobility & activation in training your clients.

Post Author: Dan60smarter

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