American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

ACE: Can you briefly describe the concept of loaded movement training? How is it different than traditional resistance training?

Michol Dalcourt: Resistance training is often, and correctly, thought of as the external mass we apply to the human form. With exercise, most of the time in exercise this external mass is moved in a linear direction in a single plane of motion. While linear movements can create tremendous benefits, it is an incomplete stimulus to the entire myofascial network of the human body. Loaded movement training, however, incorporates what may be described as “transitional movement.” 

Most traditional weight-lifting exercises done in the gym occur in only one plane of motion against the downward pull of gravity. But when we think about it, most physical work outside of the gym requires us to move with a mass not only up against gravity, but through it as the mass transitions from one location to another.

Think of the barbell deadlift, which requires sufficient strength to create an upward force to move the barbell off of the floor. Gravity influences the weight by creating the downward pull the lifter has to overcome. Compare that to loading boxes into the back of a moving truck. The basic movement of lifting a box off the ground is the same, but then the box has to transition through gravity to be placed on to the truck. Movement-based resistance training, therefore, combines full-body, task-oriented movement patterns with external loads. It’s important to note that our biology is actually set up to adapt well to the tasks requiring us to move with load.

When engaging in loaded movement training, every time you move, you are integrating the entire structure and the entire body in every movement you do. Every exercise becomes a core exercise, every exercise becomes a strength exercise, and every exercise becomes an agility exercise, which takes into account the movement and energy demands of life and sport.

ACE: What benefits does training with the ViPR provide? Is it specifically designed to support the concept of loaded movement training?

Dalcourt: Loaded movement training emphasizes transitional movements with an external resistance, which can be difficult to do with traditional equipment like a seven-foot barbell or dumbbells, which have a short lever arm. Transitional movements involve integrated action of all joints in the kinetic chain, as they organize and harmonize motion. To be most effective, transitional movements should be task-oriented, full-body movement patterning using a variable load. This means that the individual is using his or her entire body to move from one point to another. Moving the body as a whole reinforces the fundamental principles of chain reaction biomechanics and function. Integrating multiple-joint motions is the biomechanical way to mitigate stress away from localized areas in the body, and introduce stress to the whole system, as it shares the load. The ViPR is designed to be held in a number of different positions, with each hand-hold changing the lever action of the resistance. Simply changing hand placement and movement of the ViPR relative to an individual’s center of mass can greatly increase or decrease the intensity of the movement. As the ViPR moves through gravity, it engages a number of the fascial lines, creating a truly authentic total-body workout.

ACE: Where does the ViPR get its name? And where can ACE-certified professionals learn more about it?

Dalcourt: ViPR is an acronym standing for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning. Using the ViPR can bridge the gap between movement and strength training. It combines full-body movement with load, enhancing the vitality, performance and reconditioning goals of clients and athletes. Anyone interested in learning more about the ViPR can visit our website at

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