Quality Movement = Quality Health

May 3, 2017

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite things to geek out on is learning about movement and how to use that to improve strength and performance. 


So when I had the opportunity to attend the Institute of Motion, Level 1 Mentorship workshop at the SKLZ - EXOS Training Center and Headquarters in Carlsbad, CA you better believe I was all in. And wouldn’t you know it? I was already working on a series of blogs, From Desk Life to Best Life, that talk about the hazards of NOT moving, so the timing of this workshop could not be more perfect. 


I went in not really knowing what to expect, except that we would be learning about movement (duh), but wasn’t sure how I’d be able to apply it to my own philosophy. What I came away with has provided me with a ton of new perspective on the way I look at movement, exercise programming and injury prevention.




During the first lecture, we learned how detrimental lack of movement can be and how closely quality of life and quality of movement are related. For me, this helped solidify what I've been teaching my clients about the importance of movement, which you can read about here. The next piece, "Variability Is the Key to Health" is where my perspective on training and movement began to shift.  


A lot of what we see in the gym and what we do ourselves is heavy on powerlifting, bodybuilding lifting, and as they call it, “loaded linear movement” (think moving forward, up and down while under load). This is a big piece of the puzzle and shouldn’t be ignored but there’s more to designing a complete training program and it starts with the 4 quadrants of movement. 




The Institute of Motion system includes 4 quadrants of movement that defines a complete training program: 

  1. Loaded linear movement: Up, down and straight ahead with resistance

  2. Unloaded linear movement: Same as #1, but with body weight

  3. Loaded multidirectional movement: Rotation and/or lateral with resistance

  4. Unloaded multidirectional movement: Same as #3, but with body weight


Most training protocols put a ton of emphasis in the first two quadrants, and for plyometrics we use the fourth. However, if you truly want to help combat future injuries and emphasize quality movement, you must start incorporating more loaded multidirectional movement. Start very light and move slowly until your body starts to feel comfortable. As you get better, you will find the body moving with more efficiency and timing. Soon, exercises in the other quadrants will become easier and overall stiffness will subside.  


Examples of each quadrant are below:




For those strength coaches out there reading this, I’d recommend taking a look at your current strength and conditioning program to see how much emphasis is being put into each quadrant and which ones are not. If for example, you have a tennis athlete, they spend all of there time in the unloaded multidirectional movement. They are already great at that. So why spend more of there training in that quadrant? Incorporate more of the other three quadrants to provide them a well-rounded program.  


I've always been a little hesitant to move ballistaclly in all directions, especially under load because I assumed that most people would just get injured. However this is where the magic is! After a couple of weeks moving in multiplanar directions with rotation under light load, my body has gone from a rigid rock to being able to move, and move with speed and rhythm. I know I sound like an infomercial but I've tested some of this on my clients and after a couple of minutes, you can see the change in their ability to move.  


To sum up, I strongly suggest taking a look into attending one of the IOM courses, finding a certified coach, or just checking out their website and Facebook. Variability is the key to health, so start moving in different directions, and don't be afraid to mess up, its just movement!  




Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005.  During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.  

Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals.  Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!



  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

  • Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist

  • Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach

  • Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)



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