The Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG) report indicates the average adult needs to participate in 4-8 hours of weekly physical activity to enhance their overall vitality. The report further details that the activity should include 2 hours of strength training and the remaining to be a blend of moderate to high intensity activity. At face value that seems simple enough, but the common question is one of confusion – what activity means what.

Individualizing Variability

A core principle of any program is that it is individualized. The program must take into account the individual’s functional thresholds, goals, and their lifestyle. Lifestyle can address a specific sport/activity, occupation, or recreational needs. The types of activity chosen and intensities at which the movement is done at are directly influenced by the above. In order to achieve a goal, a blend of workout variables are utilized. Variables such as

  • Flexibility / Mobility
  • Endurance / Sustainability
  • Strength / Power
  • Speed / Reaction and more…

As one begins to move through a single workout, they begin to realize that the blending  of variables is inevitable. That is never more present than at the DHF clinic, where the anatomy of our workouts are broken into:

  • Movement Prep
  • Fundamentals
  • Enhancers
  • Skills
  • Recovery

Each above component can address varying workout variables. For example, movement prep can address flexibility, mobility, stability, and balance.


Why Do I Need Movement Variability

If the goal is strength, why wouldn’t all of the workouts be designed for strength? In order to better understand the importance of variability we must understand the principles of movement. Two principles that speak to the need for variability are:

  1. Movement is dynamic by nature – Think outside of the “gym”. Movement demands your ability to change. Movement demands in the winter months differs from movement in the summer months. Movement rate or speed changes upon the situation –  Are you racing to catch your child versus a walk with your spouse? Movement variables can can demand we lift an object from varying heights, distances, or angles. The examples above speak to more then just strength. Stability, speed, metabolic conditioning and more are all needed even when strength is the goal.
  2. Movement is multi-dimensional. Traditional forms of movement conditioning are focused in one plane of motion, life could challenge us to move in any direction.


Taking The Confusion Out A Variability

The Institute of Motion located in San Diego, Ca looked at this need of variability, but understood the need to simplify how we look at this. They broke movement down into 4 quadrants (coaches nomenclature):

  • Unloaded Linear Training (Bodyweight single plane dominant)
  • Unloaded Movement Training (Bodyweight multi plane dominant)
  • Loaded Linear Training (Weighted single plane dominant)
  • Loaded Movement Training (Weighted multi plane dominant)

IOM simplified the goal process within a workout to be based on:

  • Mobility
  • Strength
  • Metabolic
  • Power

 VITALITY Movement Variability Chart

Utilize the chart below to track your weekly movement variability. The goal is to move within each quadrant for up to 2 hours each. The DHF Team advises mixing in the above 4 goals within each quadrant. Workout examples of each quadrant and goal can be found in our DHF Remote Trainer app located in the iTunes Store & Google Play Store.