When most people pick up ViPR™ for the first time they grab it in the neutral grip, perform two bicep curls and two shoulder presses with it, put it down, and then think to themselves, “I can do this with a barbell.”
While ViPR has similarities with other free weight tools, it was born out of a need to train with load and movement simultaneously. ViPR offers some unique angles based on our emerging perceptions of the body’s design. In this article, we will look at the four “scientific anchors” on which ViPR is based.
Understanding these four scientific anchors is fundamental to designing ViPR movements (such as the one you'll see in the video demonstration below) that are authentic to the design of the human body.
Gravity and Ground Reaction Force
While these forces are always at work in our daily lives, we may not always embrace their input to enhance our training and conditioning programs. ViPR is designed to use both the effects of gravity – (from the top down) – and ground reaction force (GRF) – (from the bottom up) – to distribute energy into our body.
It is with the use of these two forces that our body can become more efficient and ultimately more effective. Gravity, along with GRF, allows our muscular system an opportunity to up-regulate and down-regulate. Our body first accepts these forces and uses them to move.
Gravity and GRF allow our mass (and the momentum it creates) to move while muscles turn on and off. Turning muscles on and off is the only way to save the joints for a lifetime of use; we must rely on gravity and GRF to get this done.
ViPR drills are movement based which captures gravity and GRF, creating body momentum, which allows an increase in efficiency and effectiveness.
Stretch to Shorten
Think of a rubber band. The only way to get it to work is to first stretch it. It is by stretching a rubber band that we store potential kinetic energy in the most efficient way. The body is set up in a very similar fashion. Muscles, fascia, and skin are all visco-elastic – which means that they seek to receive load before they unload. Stretching before shortening is one way to load the system. The key to maximizing this is through stretching the human structure before shortening it. Every ViPR exercise loads (i.e., stretches) the system prior to shortening. The net effect of this is to increase efficiency and effectiveness in movement.
Many suggest that we should train in a multi-dimensional approach because that is what we do in “real life.” While this is true, there is a much more fundamental reason why it is important to exercise in multi-dimensions.
We have been taught that there are relationships between muscles – synergists, antagonists, neutralizers and so on. Extreme caution must be used when ascribing an antagonist relationship to any muscle association. The idea of antagonist muscles is based on a limited and uni-planar point of view.
For instance, take the tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior. From the sagittal point of view, they would be described as antagonistic; however, the notion that two muscles work in opposites makes little sense – especially when one considers that the human body was designed to be energy efficient. Research from as far back as the 1980s (Zajac and Gordon, Andrews et al.) suggested that there is no such thing as antagonistic relationship in the muscular system. In fact, it is synergies that make up our design. Taking a look at the tibialis anterior and posterior in the frontal/transverse planes, they indeed have a synergistic action as they decelerate the collapsing of the medial arch and accelerate the forming of the foot arches.
Therefore, multi-dimensional training reinforces the synergistic actions and relationships of our muscular system, making us more efficient. ViPR exercises are designed to be multi-dimensional to reinforce this notion of synergistic action.
Entire Body Movement
Muscles need not cross a joint to move a joint. We might consider this statement to understand the far-reaching effects of an “interdependent” body. Our body is completely interconnected. However, traditional anatomy courses teach that the body is fragmented into different systems. Yet, the conclusions we draw from a fragmented perspective are not consistent with the body’s true design.
Looking into chain reaction mechanics and longitudinal anatomy reveals a unified body that works interdependently. We must train in accordance with this physical reality.
Movement is fostered by a body-wide effort. Building a foundation requires training the whole structure to produce movement efforts.
ViPR and all its exercises were designed to be consistent with these four scientific anchors. These anchors keep us closer to training movement consistent with the body’s design, enabling us to train for more efficient and effective bodies.
For more information about ViPR visit www.viprfit.com