“Move it, or lose it” is a concept that I’ve talked about before when it comes to exercise and its effect on our wellness. I recently saw a post from Movement as Medicine, (you should go follow them) that reworded the phrase, “Move WELL or lose it.” Yea, yea I know, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as “Move it or lose it”, but holds a little more meaning when it comes to application. Anyone can jump around, toss some weights and call it a day. The key is having a planned exercise prescription that best suits your needs to achieve optimal performance.

The fitness world falls a bit behind the eight ball when it comes to finding quality training. The key is to be able to distinguish between therapeutic/beneficial exercise and degenerative/dysfunctional exercise. Therapeutic exercise should be moderate, progressive, and with quality movement. On the other hand, degenerative exercise is overly aggressive, dysfunctional, unplanned or random. Overly aggressive exercise may feel like you’ve done more work and burned more calories but in the long term is that what’s best for your body? Answer is NO. More times than not an injury is not going to happen right on the spot, but rather happens over time due to dysfunctional training.

So, how do we tell the difference between functional and dysfunctional training? Functional Movement Systems lay out a pyramid for performance consisting of three zones.


  Zone 3: Task Specific Skills

Exceed mobility & stability needed to perform specific skills


   Zone 2: Physical/Work Capacity

Cardio and muscular endurance with ability to link coordinated movements.


Zone 1: Functional Movement

Full range of motion with body awareness & control. Increasing mobility, stability, core strength, and movement awareness.




If we follow these zones and place a large amount of importance on this pyramid starting at the bottom we will set ourselves up for future success, and lessen the likelihood of injury and frustration.


Zone 1

This zone provides the foundation for every movement we do in the gym and in life. If we move well through full ranges of motion then everything else becomes easier.

Zone 2

Once we move well we can start adding in work capacity. When injuries occur, people tend to attack this zone first. If you do this you greatly increase the chance of acquiring an injury. Adding volume and intensity to your body without having the ability to move well is a disaster waiting to happen.

Zone 3

This is zone is for special populations, such as athletes, military, or any job that requires a specific skill set. For example, performing a hip hinge pattern lift, like the RDL, where the barbell reaches parallel to your shins is adequate for most people, but if you are an aspiring gymnast you may want to add more mobility and strength work to your program to help increase the range of motion that is required for the sport.


Training doesn’t have to fancy or complicated, but there needs to be a set system in place to help guide you down the right path. Use this pyramid to help you and I think you will like the results.


Becca Carley, B.S. ACSM – EP

Forge-Rx Trainer