In this article we discuss the most common movement deficiencies seen over years of training athletes.  We choose to break these down into categories of movement, which allows for a clearer understanding and gives the opportunity to investigate each individually.

These movements have typically been the most predominant in our gyms regardless of training group across youth development to elite.

All movements can be broken down into the following categories;
1. Squat
2. Lunge
3. Push
4. Pull
5. Bend/Flex
6. Rotation/Anti-Rotation
7. Gait

Vertical Push - The Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

Essentially the largest fault that we see is the tremendous amount of lumbar extension, and the alignment throughout the shoulders and upper limbs. This can come down to a few things,

How do we address this? We firstly look at the athletes ROM from their thoracic.  How do the shoulder blades sit on the rib cage? Can the athlete achieve a full shoulder flexion, whilst maintaining anterior core control? If they cannot achieve the following movements then we regress according and address the following movement limitations through internal rotators, pelvic


Horizontal Pull - Single Arm Cable Row

For the following movement pattern, irrespective of whether a single arm or bilateral variation the issue remains the same and that is the anterior shear force within the shoulder through the end range of motion of the pull. Second to that is where the shoulder blade originates on the rib cage, is it winged? Is it abducted? Is one shoulder blade pronounced higher?  Thirdly, does the thorax sit in a slightly flexed position and does the athlete have inhibition to go into


Vertical Pull - Pull Up

When we view this exercise there is generally an over extension of the lumbar spine and a pronounced thoracic flexion on end range of motion. Again for this argument athletes need to be in a position where their torso can be in a neutral position unless the demands of their sport are otherwise.

Rotation - Cable Woodchop

Rotation of the entire body is typically the most common fault, which may see the lumbar spine attempt to go past the normative 5 degrees of rotation.  Essentially this movement has either an isolation portion or an integration portion. The most common mistake is having the athlete initiating the movement in segregation motions, e.g. hips first following thoracic.


Horizontal Push - Bench Press

The bench press, which is commonly used as a method to express maximal upper body force, can be viewed in many ways. For our athletic populations at


There are always going to be ways the body will try to cheat  through a movement.  This is normal.  We as Coaches need to make note of it, work on the limitations, coach better patterning and hopefully over time see improved movement and as a results overall better strength.

Darren Rowland

Darren Rowland joined ESS in 2013 after being accepted as one of twelve interns in the ESS Coaching Mentorship Program. Darren showed great enthusiasm and promise as a coach and after successfully completing the twelve month internship, secured the role of Assistant Coach for the ESS Athlete Development Program.

In 2014, Darren was appointed a full time role as Strength and Conditioning Coach for ESS and was promoted in 2015 to a Senior Coaching Position working alongside the Head of High Performance for the Athlete Development Program. Currently Darren manages the AFL, cricket, fencing, and snow sports programs together with assisting high grade motorsport and athletics programs. Combining the knowledge gained through his education background, with his practical experience and expertise as a coach, Darren takes a strong approach to biomechanics, exercise physiology, motor control as well as exercise rehabilitation. Darren is committed to ensuring his knowledge and practices are cutting edge by regularly keeping up to date with the scientific literature and continuing education programs. His commitment to continued self-development as a coach ensures he is at the forefront of performance programming for athletes. This commitment has enabled Darren to work with an extensive list of athletes from grass roots level to national and international representatives.

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