CrossFit Leiden & StrongFit: Understanding the Principles of Movement

Jeroen van Duijn

As coaches, we think it is important to keep educating yourself about the human body and how we can use this knowledge to be able to help our members better.

Last may me (Jeroen curly) and Jeroen tattoo visited the StrongFit Seminar lead by Julien Pineau. We found out about this guy after listening to two very interesting Barbell Shrugged podcasts (I, II)

This must not have gone unnoticed for you because after we came back we introduced sandbags, the sleds, ropes pulls etc. into our workouts.

The Principles of movement

We’ve been to many seminars the past years. Most of those seminars give you a system, an approach to how you should be doing things, instead of having you understand the principles and then being able to build a system around it yourself. StrongFit is all about understanding the principles of movement, which is the WHY and the HOW.

For us, this seminar has been one of the most eye-opening seminars we’ve been a part of. What really resonated with me is that his approach is catering to all fitness level and not just the elite competitor. StrongFit wants coaches to be able to help everyone that walks through the front door of the gym by understanding why they move a certain way and how movements can help them.

StrongFit is not another version of CrossFit. Julien loves CrossFit, especially the workout intensity and what CrossFit has done for the woman population (it is okay to be strong and have muscles as a woman!). StrongFit is a part of the CrossFit community but not limited to it, as many physiotherapists visit his seminars as well.

Internal and External Torque

For us, the core of the knowledge that StrongFit is sharing is the existence of internal and external torque chains within our muscular system.  Some of you might have been hearing us talk about external torque within movements in the past, but never about internal torque. External means away from the center of the body and Internal towards the center of the body. Torque refers to the tension being created (the most efficient way being more elliptical than linear, like a bullet or a punch for example).

StrongFit argues that each movement is using either internal or external torque or a combination of them. But never internal and external torque at the same time. After analyzing top athletes from different kind of sports they haven’t found any reason not to believe that this is true. They now even found a connection between the internal and external torque to the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous system and basically argue that the mind and body are not separated but part of one. Wim Hoff (The Ice Man) is doing a lot of work on this as well. I won’t go too much into details on this (another time I will) but it means for example that some exercises will make you sleep better and others will make you sleep worse. To confirm, I’ve been testing this at our gym myself and with some members.

The internal and external torque chains help us to understand where deficiencies and imbalances come from and they give us the starting point from where we can start to make you move better without pain, or make you even stronger than you already are!

Almost everyone has an imbalance in his body. What we see a lot right now is strong traps and weak lats, or too weak ext. obliques and spinal erectors. The cool thing is that many of the tools to fix this don’t have to be a highly skilled movement like a Snatch. A sandbag 400m walk will be just fine!


Mentoring Program

Jeroen and I are in the StrongFit mentoring program since this month. This means that we have weekly calls and homework to improve our knowledge on this. The knowledge that we will share with the coaches team as well! We also will be doing a week internship with Julien Pineau the 2nd week of September.

The mentoring program will last 12 months. You can expect blog updates on our knowledge at least every month. Topics like:

  • External torque, the pelvic floor and why you need to pee during double unders.
  • Why you need classical music while doing box jumps
  • What movements you need to do to sleep better.
  • Why Deadlifts are internal torque.


To learn more about StrongFit check out their website and youtube channel.

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