Bilateral positons to teach unilateral positions

I was inspired by this video of Quinn Henoch’s, founder of, YouTube page. I think it displays a concept that is paramount in learning and developing  motor control in unilateral exercise

This was a great way to teach the single leg RDL. Many people dread doing single leg work because they find it difficult get into position let alone balance on one leg. By hip hinging first bilaterally, you learn to shift your COG(Center of Gravity) to each foot and understand how it feels to have more of your weight on that side. By having your weight on each foot, you can take a breath to solidify the position there and learn to own it. A fantastic quote by Gray Cook sums this up “If you can’t breathe in that position then you don’t own it. You can’t survive in that position”. If you’re not able to breathe there then it becomes a high threshold environment because your body perceives it as a threat. By being able to breathe in this position they are able to own it and survive. It also helps for a person to have an understanding that their weight is supported by both of their feet and then can we explore in shifting their weight over each limb to get them more comfortable. Once they’re set in position and own it they can pick up the other leg and extend it. Now we can have fun loading it and plan accordingly with their mobility whether to pull from the floor or a box.

Another fantastic example of applying this approach is Pablo Orozco, Clinical athlete student, and founder, demonstrating the same concept of starting with a bilateral squat and progressing it into a pistol by shifting his weight to his right side and displaying the motor control on one leg.



This is an impressive display of the many planes of motion he can own and the fact that he can get there builds more resiliency. Katy Bowman talks about this concept of owning the different planes of motion in her book “Move Your DNA”  calling it “rainbow loads”. Pablo definitely traced the rainbow like a ninja! Kudos! The fact that your body can get into those different ranges of motion without feeling like you’re holding your breath is not only a remarkable display of motor control but can be a preventative measure from injury.

We can even apply it to the upper body as Karen Smith, SFG chief bodyweight instructor, and Phil Scarito, Master SFG, demonstrate the one arm pushup.

Phil sets the position by setting his whole body and maintaining tension as he corkscrews both of his shoulders into the ground. He uses the power breath to add more tension to the system so he is stable as he moves one arm off the floor and executes the movement. This is also an excellent exercise to teach the one arm one leg pushup which would be the gold standard of this concept which is to teach you to root with one hand and your opposite foot. If you can do that then you’re a stud!

While we do most of our training bilaterally, we cement our success by getting on one foot and spending time in those positions. Being able to shift your weight to each foot or hand is paramount in life and in many functional activities.

How can we develop this strategy? We need to start teaching people to be mindful and aware of their own bodies. Also, we need to slow down the pace of the movement so they can actually feel and breathe in those positions. So for instance, if we are in half kneeling or tall kneeling, we learn to own that position by getting there and breathing there in that position. I’m not saying that breathing is the answer to all your life’s problems but it is a start as you get the brain to say “It’s ok to be here, there is no threat, so now let’s move”

If you think this gave you something to think about, helped made you look at things in a different way, or liked it please share it.


Want to enjoy some riffs? Give Eric Gales “The Liar”a listen to!


Have a great Day!

DNS Core Activation

DNS Core Activation

For those who are obsessed with how to brace and use the core, I think this is an excellent video   Core Activation by Hans Lindgren to teach us to brace 360 degrees

It starts with the diaphragm as it pushes down to get intraabdominal pressure. A way of ensuring the right diaphragm pattern is to see the lower ribs expanding horizontally(0:32). I can’t remember if it was Chris Duffin or Bill Hartman who said that when you breathe you want to inhale horizontally and exhale vertically. When people classically breath up in their chest and clavicle this would be an example of what we do not want to see. This is inhaling vertically and all the secondary respiratory muscles turn on. Hans makes a good point on the people who breathe up in their chest that as they do so their stomach goes in and this overloads the muscles above their chest and then people wonder why their traps are so stiff. The student lays down on their back so he’s in a stable position supported by the floor/table and here we can observe the horizontal expansion of the ribcage. Now the connecting point is that we want the diaphragm moving the breath down to the abdominal cavity. He puts his hands on the ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine) asking the student to breath into his fingers to ensure the breath is complete as it moves down. Once the pattern is set the student has exhibited that he can create that pressure from the front and back and the next step is to automatize the pressure. The key is to maintain that pressure as he breathes out and never lose it. The ability to maintain this complete pressure exemplifies being able to consciously brace and we can apply this when we are under a load when lifting.

Chris Duffin has learned from DNS model and his thoughts are similar when he tells people to “Inflate the Obliques” (3:15) as this cue is a side effect of 360 degrees of bracing of his entire torso.

Back to the original video as Hans uses the thera-band as tactile feedback to teach the student to truly use his diaphragm to expand his ribs 360 degrees (2:42). Similarly, the purpose of a lifting belt is another example of tactile feedback to teach the lifter to force their torso to brace 360 degrees.The next position (3:30) is similar as he did on the table getting the person to take a breath at the bottom and focusing on maintaining that pressure and push against it.

At (3:58) we have the dead bug series still focusing on the fundamental key to holding and maintaining that pressure. Hans has the student maintain the position, building upon maintaining the pressure all the way down, as he moves his arms and legs. Another thing I want to point I think is fantastic because people forget to look for this in all their “Functional training” is Hans is teaching him to maintain the pressure in all planes. At (4:30) he pushes on his arms and legs also on the same side as if trying to flip him over to his side and hold the brace in the transverse plane and frontal plane. These are often the forgotten planes and are tough because we are not used to training in these positions(4:46). Also to continue the training, Hans has him resist him in the anti-extension of both the student’s arms and legs and even throwing in the resisted contralateral pattern that we see normally in the deadbug (5:07). These are all spices in the deadbug dish but Hans states that we must never lose focus of drill of the deadbug which is to have awareness of the position of the abdominal cavity and the chest position that is dictated by the ribs in bracing. The breath and pressure of the brace must be always maintained no matter what our limbs are doing.

At (5:20) Hans displays the wall supported DNS deadbug as a further progression as a way to integrate more parts to the complexity. This involves such getting the student’s lats turned on as his hands push into the wall. Again he notes to never lose the brace and points to his obliques (5:51) to make sure that he is not losing the brace and just not to mistake that you’re doing it right because your abs are on.

I feel the whole point is to automize this brace until it becomes a reflex as if someone was going to perturb your movement. I know this is something I definitely explore more and encourage you to explore it on your own or with someone.

Cheers and give Jeff Healy “Which One a listen. It’s awesome sauce!