Recently Patrick Ward wrote an article on Mike Robertson’s website about the Deep Front Line. Its a good read so make sure you check it out.

The Deep Line as Patrick states, consists of the following:

Posterior tibialis > interosseuos membrane > Knee capsule > adductor hiatus > intermuscular septum > femoral triangle > psoas > anterior longitudinal ligament > diaphragm > pericardium > mediastinum > parietal pleura > fascia prevertebralis > scalenes

Patrick goes on to explain how breathing plays a very important role in the function of this line and provides some excellent strategies for correction and progression.

This got me thinking…

Often times I will use the Bunkie Testing method to assess the various lines throughout the body. I wrote a piece about the Bunkie Test late last year and it can be viewed here. Kevin Neeled also wrote a piece and shot some video on how and why this testing method may play an important role in kinetic linking for hockey players. You can read that here.

As mentioned last fall, the Bunkie Test consists of tests for the following

  • Anterior power line
  • Medial stabilizing line
  • Lateral stabilizing line
  • Posterior stabilizing line
  • Posterior power line

Do we truly know that we’re testing each of the above? Who knows, but based on Patrick’s article, I think we need to revisit the test and see how we can start testing the DEEP FRONT LINE. That is, the Deep Stabilizing Line. Maybe we can’t. But perhaps we can. I am not trying to reinvent the testing method here. I am simply seeing a flaw in the testing procedure and am now looking for a way to improve it. Joe Heiler of Sports Rehab Expert recently invited me to do an interview and discuss the Bunkie Method of Testing. I hope to do this interview in July so maybe I’ll have some answers by then.

Perhaps there are other ways to test this. I can’t remember off the top of my head right now so if you can think of one, make sure you let me know.

When a patient does present with “dysfunction” of this Deep Front Line, aside from attacking their breathing patterns, I progress to improving their rolling patterns as well. Generally, I will work the supine to prone rolling pattern to improve this line and specifically target the right arm / left leg or left arm / right leg combinations as needed. Carson Boddicker has written several pieces on these topics, one of which is a must read.  For an introduction, make sure you read Core Competencies. Mark Young makes a good argument about testing the roll, but personally, I think quality is more important than quantity in this case…but that’s just my opinion!

Progression from here would be to the Dead Bug tract (not dissimilar to Patrick’s videos) and onward to chops and lifts (thanks Mike) and beyond to really attack their stabilizing function. Check out Nick Tumminello’s video of the Vertical Pallof Press for anterior stabilization (to combat lumbar extension).

Lots of info to digest here and certainly plenty of hot links to click on. So thanks to Patrick, Mike, Kevin, Mark, Carson, Nick, and Perry for unknowingly being participants in this post!

8 Responses to More on the Deep Front Line

  1. Mark Young says:

    Oh we know Jeff. Our spies are on to you. 🙂

    My big issue with the rolling patterns is that they were mentioned to be associated with the inner core. To me, the inner core is more geared towards spinal stabilization via intra-abdominal pressure and specific control of lumbar segments.

    Rolling appears (to me at least) to be involved in rotational movement. I don’t really see this as a low threshold strategy which is what I’d expect from a inner core movement.

  2. jcubos says:

    Hmm. I hear you. Inner core being postural musculature and outer core being more of the phasic type? That is, inner core being stabilization and outer core being movement generation?

    If that’s what you’re saying, I hear ya.

    There’s no doubt that during a roll, like all other movements, BOTH are in play. Therefore, if qualitatively the roll is ideal, can we assume that the inner core is “functional”? Perhaps the key word there is ASSUME.

  3. Mark Young says:

    Yep…ASSUME. I don’t see much research available on this though.

  4. Kevin Dunsing says:

    Doesn’t Dr. McGill say that it is nearly impossible to isolate the inner core musculature because they turn on with any MVC over 6%. I ASSUME that if a person can perform a voluntary abdominal brace they can activate their inner core. I could be totally wrong on this.

  5. jcubos says:

    I would have to agree. Just not sure if we need to volitionally “brace” with every movement of our ADLs. Not saying we need to isolate our “inner” core, but some people just take bracing too far that they end up turning into a walking valsalva maneuver.

  6. I admit that I haven’t read Patrick’s article yet, so there might be some arguments he presents in support of the existence of this “DFL” that I’m not privy to, but from what I’ve read in ‘Anatomy Trains’, first ed., this train seems like a linkage of a bunch of stuff that didn’t fit neatly in the other ‘trains’ Tom’s mapped out, some of which do seem to correlate a bit better to action chains, movement planes.

    Since Gil Hedley has pointed out in several posts that one can influence what fascial planes one is seeing when dissecting fascia by how one slices thru and lifts the planes in the tissue, why do you simply accept that the ‘deep front line’ even exists as Tom Myers has described it?

    Based upon what?

    I asked him once on his wall what support he had for the existence of these hypothetical trains as maps as he’s described them in the book and he simply said:

    “I am not a fact or EBM person, better read as an artist or explorer. Someone better broom-equipped than I will come in behind me and sweep up the facts. I love it all, and respect all kinds of work from osteopathy to PIlates and back again via Eutony, and make no claims for KMI in particular, or SI in general – it’s just an approach. No better, no worse than any other – in fact dependent not on the practitioner’s grasp of facts as much as her grasp of feeling.”

    Except that he IS making claims for the work, rather specific claims of its and SIs superiority over other methods and others are jumping on board without a whit of evidence that these planes as he presents them even exist at all.

    I asked Robert Schliep at the recent Low Back and Pelvic Pain Congress if there were any studies showing that Rolfing, Structural Integration, got better short term or long term results than any other form of manual therapy addressing trigger points and/or fascial adhesions and he said “Unfortunately, no”. When I asked unfortunately for whom, he just smiled.

    Some of these trains don’t seem like they have any relevance to movement patterns at all, even if they did exist, so why give them so much credibility, focus on them as taught in KMI and/or attempt to amend functional testing to accommodate what I speculate is, largely, a fictional construct that sells books and workshops?

  7. jcubos says:


    Thank you for the note and sorry for the late response.

    Interesting to hear the response from T.M.

    I will admit that this site is meant to make me accountable for what I think I know and having individuals such as yourselves shed more light into certain topics really help me grow.



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