Global ViPR master coach John Sinclair looks at why shifting should be added to every training program.

You may have seen the meme on Facebook, ‘Do you even lift, Bro?’ Almost all people who go to the gym to work out will inevitably lift weights. Lifting is simply moving an object from a low position to a higher position. Whether that is from the ground to waist or waist to overhead, it is moving in the vertical direction against gravity.

Shifting is the process of moving an object through the field of gravity. Imagine coming into your house from a trip to the grocery store. You bring the groceries from the car into the house and set them on the ground. Not all of your groceries need to be moved directly vertical in front of you, so you may have to shift the groceries from the floor to the counter. It is very rare that we perform in life the way we do in the gym. Or perhaps we could look at it as not performing in the gym like we do in life.

ViPR was designed to help make this become a reality. For most of you who have used ViPR, you are definitely used to the concept of shifting, as many of the exercises we designed involve shifting already. In many cases, there are exercises that require a combination of shifting and lifting. ‘Shlifting’, if you will.

Shoveling and upper cuts are good examples of shifting.

 Why should you add shifting into your program?

 There are many reasons (and are not limited to these):

                   Movement creates momentum

The connective tissue is visco-elastic, and by creating momentum we capture energy and store it to transfer it kinetically. That will make us more efficient by becoming stronger and resilient, body wide. 

Training stability and mobility happens simultaneously

An unstable organism becomes stable with movement. “Stability without mobility causes rigidity and rigidity is the enemy of biology,” says Michol Dalcourt. We are set up to be economical as organisms. Wasting metabolic energy or minimizing performance is detrimental to the design of the body and to our biological make-up

Fascia and skin require external mechanical force to adapt

Speed of movement needs variability to create adaptation. Loading movement in different directions with different loads at different speeds allows our body to adapt efficiently.

Training in different vectors (directions) results in a more robust structure and will create body-wide shape stability. The meme ‘Do you even shift, Bro?’ could be used synonymously with the methodology I developed called #FARMSTRONG.

 Movement creates hydration

When you move in different directions with load, it causes a change in osmatic flow. Hydrostatic pressure gradients shift within the tissues in direct response to gravity and the ground. This in turn will drive water to fascia to become used to helping create a robust connective tissue. The body needs water to mitigate forces through the body. This will allow muscles to generate force when they need to and fascia to become elastically and dynamically stiffened to transfer that kinetic energy.


For these reasons, it is crucial that we develop training programs that involve shifting.


Here are some of my favorite shifting drills with ViPR ...


Don't forget to send us your videos in of you in action! We can't wait to see your ViPR dance!