How to be sure your Program Design is Complete

Written by admin on July 2, 2013

Many are in search for a program design which allows for intensity, active recovery, mobility, strength, stability, power etc, however it can be difficult to decide what to do and when.

It can also be difficult to formulate a structure which allows freedom to choose drills to meet the demands of various populations.

In an effort to aid trainers in being sure their program design is complete, I have created what we are calling the 4 Quadrant Training Model (4Q Training)


The quadrants are formed by two continuums.

Vertical Continuum (Top to bottom):
loaded (with external weight)
unloaded (uses manipulation of bodyweight)

Horizontal Continuum (Left to right):

linear (planar movement)
three-dimensional (3D transitional motion)

The training illustrated in each of these quadrants represent key elements of a well-balanced fitness protocol. Ideal program templates would include elements of each of the four quadrants.

The upper left quadrant, which is linear movement with external resistance or load, has been scrutinized for years and involves our classic resistance training. Some of the benefits and adaptations include the following:

– Greater muscle hypertrophy
– Time under tension
– Increase hormonal release
– Improvement in Stability / Strength / Power
– Improved intra-muscular coordination

The lower left quadrant, which is linear movement that is unloaded, is often used to re-educate the neuro-muscular activation patterns, to mobilize joints, to facilitate motor efficiency etc. and has numerous benefits, which include (but is not limited to):

– Re-education of neuro-muscular system
– Stability / Mobility training
– Weak Link Activation
– Targeted tissue improvement (i.e. muscle)
– Improved intra-muscular coordination

The lower right quadrant is transitional or 3-D movement which is unloaded. These bodyweight drills may or may not include equipment (i.e. speed ladders, cones etc) and produce three-dimensional body motions. Some of the benefits and adaptation include the following:

– Rapid NS activation
– Dynamic stability training
– Improved Motor learning
– Speed, agility, quickness improvements
Increase functional reaction capabilities

The upper right quadrant
, often conspicuously absent from training, involves transitional or 3-D movement with external load. This is where we find Loaded Movement Training.

While we seldom see individuals transitioning their bodies with mass in the gym setting, this is an important part of the training spectrum. Loaded Movement Training offers the following benefits, among many others:
– Greater adaptations in muscle, nerve, skin, fascia (because of the pre-load qualities which transitional movements provide)
– Less compressive forces (due to tension loads rather than compressive ones)
– Increase hormonal release (due to the intensity and metabolic demand of loading transitional movements)
– Improvement in multi-directional stability / strength / power (due in part to pre-position loading)
– Improved inter-muscular coordination (as a result of summating forces which require synergistic muscular actions)

Check back for our next blog on how to introduce Loaded Movement Training into your current routines.

Posted Under: General

2 replies to “How to be sure your Program Design is Complete

  1. John Grogan

    I’ll be teaching this to Cert IV Fitness classes alongside my Intro to ViPR . I echo Jan’s comments; awesome!


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