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Anytime there’s a conversation about programming, someone breaks out a pyramid…and they start using a variety of terms, GPP, SPP, Work Capacity, strength, mobility…you name it. How to program.

When I was noob in personal training and strength and conditioning, I put a lot of stock in the models and in these terms. As a veteran trainer and educator, I have found training to be a whole lot simpler than these models, or just about any model makes it out to be. I think the problem is that we’ve been thinking quantitatively…not qualitatively.

When we look at a pyramid or any other model, what is the common thread between each level of the model? How to program.

You got it: Movement.

Isn’t that what these models are really about? Well, kinda. I believe these models are about quantities of movement. Strength, speed, power, endurance, flexibility, stability, mobility…all quantitative measures of movement.

What about gymnastics, Olympic Lifting, powerlifting, etc? Those aren’t exactly movement quantities. Agreed. They’re sports, or limited sets of movements.

Do you notice what’s missing in all these types and quantities of movement? Where did movement itself go? Why aren’t we focusing on that?

What do I mean? How humans actually move. You know, flexion, extension, rotation, translation, etc.?

It is possible to train every movement quantity, perhaps even every sport…and still not train all movement. Might that be an issue? Might that be what’s been missing from training all along? The remedy?

Train all movements…at least some of the time. Yes, I know. That’s a lot of movements. There’s good news, though. There’s another kind of model that may help you.

We use to call it The Movement Model but more recently we’ve called it the Specificity Spectrum. It has four levels:

Specific (Movement)
Component-Specific (Movement)
Contra-specific (Movement)
Non-Specific (Movement)

Here’s how to use it:
When you go to the gym, the first thing to try our are those movements specific to your goals…whatever they may be. If those don’t test well or feel good, move on to the components of those specific movements. For example, if you want to deadlift and it doesn’t feel good, try out rack pulls. If that doesn’t feel good, try doing the contraspecific (opposite) of that motion – for a deadlift, that could be a sledgehammer strike on a tire. And if that doesn’t feel good, that’s your body telling you a new movement is in order.

Programming isn’t rocket science…but it is a science. It’s the science of training movement. So. train. movements. All of them. How to program.

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About The Author

Frankie Faires

Frankie Faires is the co-founder of THE MOVEMENT and an avid Martial Artist. You can read more of his articles at AreYouTheMovement.com and Movement Martial Arts