The Mobilization of Strength: Quality vs. Quantity of Movement

Written by: Brandon Richey, B.S., CSCS

One of the biggest rules I work to drive home to my students when it comes to training is that the quality of a given movement should always take precedence over the quantity of the movement.

The trap is that many people too quickly and too frantically tend to get into a hurry up and finish sort of mindset when it comes to training. Sure we want to be efficient when getting in our workouts, but not at the expense of emphasizing quality control and the mastery of movement. That’s just a recipe for no gains…except making gains in injury.

Primary Movements

When developing a quality strength and conditioning program the key to success is in the execution and the planning. Being able to put together a smart plan is great, but if the execution of the movements is sub-par then that great plan is not so great.

When looking at the planning and execution of quality movement it’s always a good idea to focus on the main primary movements involved in the dynamics of human motion.

When looking at these different movement patterns of the human body there are some essential things to consider. When training you’ve got to ask yourself Where is your focus? Why are you training? Why are you doing what you are doing?

Paul Chek came up with a primal movement checklist which involves 7 different movement patterns that are important not only for performing, but for the purpose of survival as well. The idea is that every able bodied individual should be able to perform these basic human movements. The list is as follows:

Primary (Primal) Movementscobrazol-sport-twist-exercise

  1. Squat
  2. Lunge
  3. Push
  4. Pull
  5. Twist
  6. Bend
  7. Gait


In my experience most everyday people are deficient in most, if not all, of these movements to some degree. Usually this is the case due to a degradation of posture because of tight immobile joints along with weakness being the culprit in certain areas of the body. These factors end up rendering the trainee unable to perform these moves up to satisfaction.

cobrazol-sport-pull-upsQuality Balanced Training (QBT)

The QBT is an essential method that you can apply to structure these 7 movements to your strength and conditioning program in order to devise a plan that includes covering all of these primary movements throughout your week’s training.

The key here is being able to intelligently apply each of these movements allowing you to get them all in during a given training session. The other factor is that you want to be able to do so while being fresh enough to exhibit a quality execution of each movement. In order to apply the QBT you can set up your training session to perform supersets. This involves you stacking a couple of the opposing movements in order to get both of the movements in while allowing each set of muscle groups ample rest time while you perform the opposing movement.

An example of this would be to perform the push and pull movements together in a super-set. This might mean that you perform a set of push-ups (the push) and then immediately after completing the push exercise you move on to perform a set of pull ups (the pull). By doing this you are structuring your training to be balanced while also getting in an ample amount of work. This way your primary movements aren’t neglected due to allowing for an intelligent model for working everything out.

There is no real incorrect way to structure a QBT model and super-setting opposing muscle groups is only one way to structure the training model to ensure that you are able to get in all of your primary movements.

Other programming may involve you performing circuits where you combine more than a couple of primary movements at once to perform one after the next without rest. The movements can be performed by executing them with body weight, or when the movements are mastered you can make the transition to performing them by adding a sufficient load (free weights, weighted vests, etc.).

In Closingcobrazol-sport-push-ups

The point is that most people are deficient in very basic and quality human movements. The key to making progress in your strength is making sure that you plan intelligently, but at the same time you need to make sure to emphasize mastering the movements in addition to the smart planning.

The 7 primal movements are at the foundation and from there any other athletic, or life related movement is just a combination of those given movement patterns. Don’t fall into the trap of just performing isolation type movements in your training. Make sure your strength and conditioning program has a purpose. Once again answer the question of why you are doing it!

At the end of the day are you executing your lifts and movements with a high level of proficiency? Is your technique rock solid…and are you working diligently to master each of the 7 primary movements?brandon-richey-squat-picture

To learn more about strength and conditioning coach Brandon Richey, his coaching, and training programs make sure to visit him at

If you’re interested in either getting Brandon’s Online Coaching program at a discounted rate, or ordering Cobrazol Sport for yourself and getting Brandon’s Online Coaching Program for Free then make sure you click here.

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