Home Blog Better Movement from the Inside Out

Better Movement from the Inside Out

Written on October 23, 2013 at 7:14 am, by Eric Cressey

I have attended a lot of great seminars during my time in the strength and conditioning field.  In the early days, I’d walk away with a lot of valuable information that I could immediately apply. It was almost like drinking from a fire hose!

Interestingly, as the years went on, I took less and less from seminars – in spite of the fact that the fitness field was a rapidly evolving industry, with new research emerging every single day.  The reason for this is very simple: as the industry developed, so did my knowledge – which means I had developed a better filter to separate what was useful from what wasn’t a good fit for my clients.

As a result, when I attend seminars now, I’m psyched to walk away with one or two things – however small – that we can immediately apply with our clients. And, if I come across something that does more than that, it’s a game changer.

For me, the concept of working from the inside out – or proximal to distal - has been exactly that.  Since it's a recurring theme in the program in my new resource, The High Performance Handbook, I thought I'd use today's post to go into a bit more detail.

Simply stated, this means that you get things right in the core before working on what’s going on with the extremities.  It seems so basic, but it’s something that’s been missed by loads of fitness professionals and rehabilitation specialists for a long time.  Why stretch a shoulder or the hamstrings if you haven’t taken into consideration where the lumbar spine is positioned?

This wasn’t just one part of a seminar, though; it was a theme that kept emerging on a number of fronts. 

First, the research demonstrated that training core stability improved hip internal rotation.  That’s right; you don’t have to stretch someone into internal rotation to improve it. Just get people to "neutral" and then stay there while training, and good things happen.

Then, I checked out some of the Postural Restoration Institute seminars, applied some of their positional breathing principles, and saw athletes gain more than 30° of shoulder internal rotation without me even touching their shoulders.  Their hip internal rotation improved, and they were able to adduct and extend the hips more effectively. 

Seeing these changes in action was awesome, but at the same time, they were moments that made me think “why didn’t I ever think of this before?”  It’s just a matter of restoring proper alignment with breathing and adequate core recruitment to facilitate that breathing. When alignment is “on,” protective tension doesn’t have to kick in.

If you stretch and you’re out of alignment, you get instability.  If you strengthen and you’re out of alignment, you shift more stress to passive restraints (which may create more instability) and you get overuse injuries.


Working proximal-to-distal is a theme you see in all our warm-ups and the way that we approach arm care with our athletes.  If you establish “good stiffness” early on, warming-up the entire rest of the body becomes a much more efficient process, as you aren’t just reaffirming bad patterns. 

As I noted, this proximal-to-distal approach is also heavily emphasized in my new resource, The High Performance Handbook, in the assessment portions, programs, and detailed exercise technique videos.  Regardless of whether you’re looking for some direction in your own training or in your work with clients, this will be a "clutch" resource to which you’ll refer for years to come.

It's on sale at a great introductory price through the end of the week; you can pick it up here.


Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!


25 Responses to “Better Movement from the Inside Out”

  1. Rick Washburn Says:

    Very interesting. Might have to check out your resource. Especially about the ‘good stiffness’. Thanks!

  2. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thanks, Rick!  You won’t be disappointed.

  3. Pete Says:

    Are the assessment portions different from those in the Assess & Correct program?

  4. Matt Says:


    I recently purchased the Show and Go program. How does this program differ? I am still working through the Show and Go and I saw your new program released.



  5. Whitney Says:

    Eric, I bought your Show and Go program about a year ago and loved it. Will the main information in this product be different than that in the Show and Go program?

  6. Freddy Says:

    Why does hip internal rotation improve when getting people to neutral (from extension I’m guessing)? Aren’t people with excessive lordosis often also excessively internally rotated at the hips to begin with, thus they would have issues with external rotation?

    Thanks for clarifying!

  7. Tim Vagen Says:

    As always, great stuff! Inside out is the thing that most trainers need to discover. The hub of any wheel is it’s most important aspect. When building a bike wheel, we use a great hub, great spokes, a great rim, and then think about the tire. I’d love to use some of this material with my students.

  8. Eric Cressey Says:

    Whitney and Matt

    Thanks for the notes.

    It’s a upgrade over Show and Go, for sure. While there are commonalities, this is three years newer than S&G and is far more uptodate. I think you’ll find the video database to be more extensive (voiceovers and longer videos), and the assessment videos to be enlightening and very helpful.  Plus, in light of the assessment components, there are actually many more programing options.

    Hope this helps!



  9. Eric Cressey Says:


    Yes, not quite as elaborate, but the follow-up programming is much more detailed.

  10. Eric Cressey Says:


    I see LOADS of athlete in anterior tilt who are stuck in hip external rotation and have very little IR.  It can go both ways.  Neutral is neutral.

  11. Kate Says:

    This sounds like the premis of what Pilates is. Would that be correct or am I missing something more?
    Like all your info, sounds like a great product.

  12. Matt Wallace Says:


    Two quick things.

    First with regard to the post, I was amazed to see how clients improve mobility with breathing work. Amazed because I tried other ways to improve mobility in some clients but the gains were small, didn’t last, and took time because of the foam rolling or stretching. I now see t-spine, sho. internal and external rotation, and hip mobility changes that happen right in front of my eyes, maintain from session to session, and more importantly the client feels and sees the difference on the spot. It is a game changer and now I really need to take the PRI courses. Great post Eric.

    Secondly, I’m doing ‘show and go’ currently and I just bought the high performance handbook. There are lots of changes with respect to individualization, breathing, bonus material, and exercise selection. I plan to finish ‘show and go’ and move on to ‘high performance’ when I’m done. There are similar features, and that is a good thing, but the changes are well worth it.

  13. Nick Says:


    I know you get many of these messages but thank you for the wealth of information that you bring in all your work. With that being said I am excited to see your interest in PRI grow. I was fortunate to work in a physical therapy setting where I was introduced to postural restoration. I have first hand experienced and seen the improvements that it creates. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why is wasn’t more prevalent in strength and conditioning. Without a doubt, I will be applying for an internship at your facility.

    Thanks again for the work you do!

  14. Ryan Byars Says:

    What type of seminars do you go to? I would really like to start going to some myself.

  15. Eric Cressey Says:

    Hi Kate,

    Definitely many commonalities between what I’m writing about and how Pilates works.

  16. Susan Says:

    Greg, I do a ‘Rib Hip’ cue with my clients. By landmarking fingers on the ASIS and thumb on the lowest ribs,with one hand(or both) they can feel right away if their position is changing, either in flex. or ext. This gives great kinesthetic awareness at the same time, especially to those just finding neutral and new to diaphragmatic breathing.

  17. Donovan Says:

    I was one of the guinea pigs who tried this, and frankly, I enjoyed this better than Show and Go (Sorry Eric!) While I can talk about my increased athleticism seen while playing soccer, an increased strength as well as getting leaner (yes, i achieved all of these at the same time), the most important thing, or things, for me is that i saw my posture getting better with every single training session by learning how to breathe right. and the price, really, is a steal.

  18. Darren Says:

    Just purchased the HP Handbook and it looks great. One question though; in the Athletic Performance Option, are there alternative exercises for when space or weather is a limiting factor?

  19. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thanks, Donovan! I like it better than S&G, too. 🙂

  20. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thanks for your kind words and business, Matt!

  21. Eric Cressey Says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thanks for your kind words and business!

    I’d sub in some incline treadmill sprinting and then just do extra work on the plyos that are included in that particular day.  The only thing you’ll really be missing out on are the starts, but you can still get close to top speed.

  22. Anthony Gillespie Says:

    One of the best resource materials ever! I am a 20 industry professional and am astounded at how much I don’t know which becomes more and more evident as delve more into the content of the hand book. I am in awe. We’ll done Eric. I am interviewing a potential employee today who did an internship at your facility. On that alone he is virtually hired before walking in the door.

  23. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thanks, Anthony! I appreciate the kind words.

  24. Patricia Tufts Says:

    I am a Pilates specialist and I read your articles all the time. I love how you focus on neutral-spine and all the other great principles of Pilates and yet you are 100 athletic and sports as well.
    You put the two sources of strength and intelligence together so well. So great to see. We love you in the Pilates world…

    Patricia Tufts.

  25. Eric Cressey Says:

    Thank you, Patricia!

  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series