Corrective Exercise Excerpts from Our Books
Corrective exercise excerpts from our books
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While many people consider Gray Cook’s Movement a Functional Movement Screen book, it’s much more than that. After the introduction wherein Gray makes the case for screening and lays out the screens and assessments, the rest of the book covers movement correction—what to do with each screen’s information. You need to understand the corrective decisions that make up the three primary categories of mobility, stability and movement pattern retraining. You’ll also want to understand comparisons of conditioning versus corrective exercise, movement prep and movement correction, skill training and corrective prioritization, and understand when each is appropriate.
Understanding the differences between correct and corrective exercises, between challenging versus difficult, and having a selection of self-limiting exercises in your exercise menu will give you confidence as you assign and program exercises.
It’s a good idea to make a checklist for your corrective decisions: pain, purpose, posture, position, pattern and plan. Even though every person’s movement is unique, without this framework, your corrective path will not be as clear as it could be.
Using passive, active and assistive techniques, you can help your clients, athletes and patients recover lost mobility. Understanding stability and motor control, transitional postures and using facilitation techniques such as reactive neuromuscular training will give you the tools to challenge that new mobility.
You also want to figure out how to make corrective exercise an experience. This is how corrective exercise actually works in the human body, and you need to learn how to create this for your clientele. Using PNF, RNT, reverse patterning, conscious loading, resisted and self-limiting exercises will help you grasp the concept of the manageable mistake zone so you can use these ideas and techniques to stand out in your crowded professional field.
Consider these thoughts from Gray Cook Radio:
Stability training has been a popular training method in recent years, but are we thinking about it correctly? Is motor control a better concept?
Here Gray describes the “Three Rs” concept of fitness and rehabilitation
Let’s see what Gray has to say about exercise and chronic pain
Does Gray have a Daily Desk Jockey movement prescription?
Here Gray explains the difference between stability and motor control
Dan John asks Gray: Tell us more about the concept of self-limiting exercise
The Place of Corrective Exercises
Corrective work has exploded over the past decade. As with most things in life, we went way too far in one direction and now the pendulum is swinging back to the point where some are saying it’s all a waste of time.
Here’s the issue with correctives: Most people think correctives are simply strange-looking exercises. Yes, they can be. But correctives can also include moves you’ve never done, or have neglected. For example, if you’ve never done a loaded carry, farmer walks would be a corrective.
They also don’t need to consume the whole workout. If you’re doing sets of bench presses, you can slide correctives between sets.
You can also put correctives in your warm-up. Some movements, like the goblet squat, swings and the getup, serve as great correctives for many people. If you’re learning the squat, a set of goblet squats between a set of military presses is quite instructive. It develops the pattern, certainly, but it also provides some extra time to master the movement. If you give this a try, you’ll be amazed at the simplicity of this game-changing tweak.
People often think of corrective exercise as unimportant, unchallenging stuff. Don’t let them deceive you, though. If you do the right correctives properly, they can often cause more sweating and exhaustion than the actual training, and also allow you to get much more work into a training session.
The key to correction is for the coach to have a toolkit of regressive movements that allow one to deload and destress so they can perform the fundamental movements comfortably and pain free.
The first step to addressing any corrective work is to find your gaps. If you look at my list and argue instantly for a vertical push versus horizontal push, and a vertical pull over horizontal pull but you’ve never done a deadlift, swing, squat or farmer’s walk, well, there’s your first gap.
I look at it three ways. First, are you doing each of the basic human movements at least weekly? I argue you should do each of them daily—just the movement for a few reps with a light load. A daily light set of goblet squats will do wonders for hip mobility and the overall squat pattern.
If I had an empty schedule and unlimited time to train, I would love to throw every corrective exercise and soft tissue modality at my old body and see how supple I could get. The fact is, no one has that kind of time (or patience), nor is it even necessary.
Take it from me: regressions are the best corrections.
Correct Exercise Versus Corrective Exercise
It’s also important to keep in mind the idea that corrective exercise is supplemental. Far more thought should be put into designing a program that maintains movement quality.
Injuries and imbalance will always be present, so correctives will almost always be a part of any program. However, prescribing the right exercises, emphasizing proper form and keeping a reasonable load on the bar will go far in maintaining movement quality and minimizing the need for corrective exercises.
When it comes to corrective exercise, prevention really is better than cure.
As I have given the basics of Intervention to my fellow coaches, a few reoccurring themes have emerged as they take back the key points to try them on themselves and their athletes. I refer to these as the secrets, in the same way ‘buy low, sell high’ is a secret.
Click here to listen to or read a longer excerpt displaying more of Dan Johns ‘secrets.’
Click here to read an expanded version of this Intervention material by Dan John.
Foam rollers are the poor man’s massage therapist, soft tissue work for the masses. As strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers watched elite level athletes tout their success with various soft tissue techniques, the obvious question arose. How can we mass-produce soft tissue work for large groups of athletes at a reasonable cost?
A decade ago strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists would have looked quizzically at a thirty-six-inch-long round piece of foam. Today nearly every athletic training room and most strength and conditioning facilities contain an array of foam rollers in different lengths and densities.
The use of foam rollers has progressed in many circles from an acupressure-type approach to self-massage. The roller is now used to apply sweeping strokes to the long muscle groups like the calves, adductors and quadriceps, and small, directed force to areas like the TFL, hip rotators and glute medius.
When you picture a muscle as a band with a knot in it, the foam roller is what unties the knots. This is what allows us to create tissue length, and what allows us to stretch.
Athletes should be instructed to use the roller to search for tender areas or trigger points, and to roll these areas to decrease density and over-activity. As a general rule of thumb, ten slow rolls are done in each position, although there are no hard and fast rules for foam rolling. Often we just encourage athletes or clients to simply roll until the pain disappears.
Dan’s ideas in Can You Go? are less corrective-specific, but no less useful. He slides his clients into a Venn diagram to get a look at what they might need.
The assessment process gives the coach and trainer a clear road map for the next three to nine sessions. Remember, we’re discovering what people need, not what they want. Our job is to get them to turn their rudder in another direction. The assessment shows us which way to go; it tells us what needs to be done.
We want them to stay on the path toward the goal.
Someone who is clearly immobile is not common among the groups I’ve worked with. However, it’s possible to do yoga four days a week and still have mobility issues.
Increasing flexibility is often a neurological trick. We’re “turning off” certain muscles and hanging out on the connective tissues.
Flexibility and mobility must always be framed around the word “enough.” More flexibility is not necessary, except in some rare areas of dance and high-level gymnastics.
Enough is enough; more is not better.When it comes to mobility, enough is enough. More is not better. ~ Dan John Click To Tweet
I strongly suggest focusing on Janda’s tonic muscles for flexibility work. Be sure the pectorals, biceps, hamstrings and hip flexors, as well as the adductor muscles of the thighs, are the focus. Mobilizing these muscles will do more to counterbalance life, sitting and commuting than two hours of general stretching.
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