Video Segments about Corrective Exercise
Corrective exercise tips gleaned from our video series
Click here to return to the corrective exercise topic menu
“When people raise their arms up in the air, we need to see a smooth upward rotation of the shoulder blade and a controlled downward rotation of that shoulder blade. As they raise the arm up, we want see a nice, smooth upward rotation, and when they bring the arm back down, it’s smooth on the way down.
“However, what we often see in the presence of some type of shoulder dysfunction is a nice, easy upward rotation of the shoulder blade, but when they go to bring the arm down, we see that shoulder blade literally fall. There’s absolutely no control into the downward rotation, so that really is poor control or poor eccentric control of upward rotation.
“As someone is lifting the arm up over the head, we have a concentric upward rotation. When lowering the arm back down, we have an eccentric action of the muscles for upward rotation, so we have this concentric and eccentric type of motion.
“When the person goes to lift the arm up overhead and then simply—boom—it falls right back down, that’s because of some poor eccentric control in the scapular stabilizers or in the scapular controlled-mobilizers. We want to fix that compensation or dysfunction, and I’ve found the best way to do that is through closed-chain exercises for the upper extremity.” ~ Sue Falsone
“This is going to be our typical corrective strategy. It’s going to be a little soft tissue work. It’s going to be some of our repatterning drills, passive stretches and things of that nature. We restore the symmetry in that pattern. We go to static stability with some half-kneeling and then we’re going to go to that single-leg deadlifting in order to dial it in and keep it.
“A lot of people get stuck in what I like to call ‘the corrective whirlpool.’ They’re always trying to correct something and everything gets sucked into it.” ~ Gray Cook
“The first principle is a natural principle: move well enough to respond, move often enough to adapt. The SAID principle doesn’t work positively if you don’t have good responses. Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand only works if you respond well. What if you respond to a squat load with compensation and substitution and valgus collapse? The SAID principle works in that direction.
“The SAID principle is what makes a bone spur too, right? The SAID principle is what makes a stress fracture. The SAID principle is what can create arthritis and compound a scoliosis. If we don’t step in and protect them from those things they can’t do and correct those things that can be corrected and send them on a development path with a little more knowledge than they started it with, then we are part of the problem.
“The SAID principle will blindly work in either direction. It will serve to reinforce compensation, substitution and micro-trauma, or it will serve to create an incredibly resilient body.
“The SAID principle will work in any direction and we’ve used this as an excuse for the last 30 years to push more is better. More exercise isn’t better. Better exercise is better.” ~ Gray Cook
“One of the ways to get a better sense of feedback when it comes to the breath is Reactive Neuromuscular Training. One way in thinking of RNT is to “feed the mistake.”
“Using a kettlebell as an RNT tool in this breathing drill, they have something to feel. It shows them where they want to direct that breath as they inhale, engaging those muscles of the lower abdomen to create that vacuum to draw the diaphragm down for more breath. This provides a sensory-rich environment, and progress in learning all about having a rich sensory environment.
“Feel that lower abdomen, almost like you’re trying to blow the hips apart with the depth of that inhale. I’m cueing him verbally, but we still have that kettlebell as a feedback tool. And I have a visual tool to see how much he’s able to draw that breath down. In terms of coaching, this is rich.” ~ Mark Cheng
“The number one reason we look at the squat parallel in the Functional Movement Screen as opposed to the lifting preferred out-turn is because we’re not trying to find out if you’re a good squatter—we’re looking for the bad squatters! We’re trying to separate the group of people who must squat toes out from the people who choose to squat toes out with load.
“There are people who can’t even squat their body weight. It’s just their body weight and they’ve got to turn their feet out.
“Here’s what it really means. If you can’t squat deeply with your feet parallel, it means you don’t have enough medial hip rotation or you don’t have good core stability so you cave. It also forces valgus collapse.
“When you earn a ’3’ in the deep squat in the FMS, it doesn’t mean you’re a great squatter. It means you have great potential not to have a mobility issue interfere with your squatting. There are not many tests other than something done on a medical table that will look at medial hip rotation. A parallel squat finds that for us.” ~ Gray Cook
Work postures before developing a pattern
“Any movement pattern is just a dynamic posture. It’s important to ensure that your client can hold a posture before you work to develop a pattern.
“When designing a training program, make sure proper posture is developed before doing movement pattern work. This will ensure that your clients are able to walk before they run.
“Many people have poor posture due to thoracic and hip mobility issues, often caused by too much sitting. A great way to remedy this is the tall-kneeling position. This takes away use of the knees and ankles in the movement, and forces people to relearn how use the thoracic spine and hips.” ~ Dan John
“Don’t assume mobility is movement, and especially don’t assume stability is either. Half the time what you think is stability is stiffness. If somebody’s low back is stuck, that’s not core stability. That’s a stiff lower back. That person may bring that bad back to every situation, including the finish of a golf swing, which isn’t good.
“Stability is instantaneous integrity in the presence of full range of motion.
“A stiff shoulder isn’t stable. It may have never had a stability problem, but a stiff shoulder isn’t stable. A fully mobile shoulder that passes a stability test is stable.” ~ Gray Cook
“What are the patterns that are important? Each one of these movements has a basic patterning we want to make sure we have: push, pull, hinge, squat & carries.
“If I were to put these in order as to how I can impact you overnight, the order would be the opposite!
1) Loaded carries—I can change your life in three weeks
“I can guarantee that when athletes show up to Stanford’s weight room, they want to bench press…they want to lay down and bench press. The first intervention is this: Getting you to do some kind of loaded carry. Because if I can get you to just the farmer walk…just the farmer walk…in 3 weeks you’re better.” ~ Dan John
“The more points of entry you can give someone into a style of movement, into a frame of movement, into a successful, efficient movement, the better you’re going to do, not only as a trainer, as an instructor, as a clinician, but also you will do better for yourself because there are times when you have to either regress or progress. You have to know when to do which.
“I think there are three angles—three perspectives in which you can look at these different entry points. The first is biomechanical, looking at musculoskeletal constructs and potential overloads or energy links. This is probably the easiest to understand. It’s not necessarily the most important, because we’ll next move to the neuromuscular perspective, which is often the total opposite of biomechanics.
“The third perspective is one of neurodevelopmental, which is very difficult to speak of at a scientific level. When we look at neurodevelopmental ideas, this takes us back to neuromuscular, and that takes us back to biomechanical.” ~ Charlie Weingroff
“When you hear me say mobility first, I’m not saying stretch them. I’m not saying manipulate them. I’m not saying make mobility. I’m saying explain why it’s gone. It’s very important. You didn’t hear me say stretch. You heard me say address mobility first and if it’s lacking, please explain to me why it’s not there.
“If your mobility is clear and you move poorly, then you don’t have good motor control. If your mobility is clear and your movement patterns are acceptable—and we’ve got to set that standard—then your motor control is adequate at that load. I don’t make an assumption that if your motor control at one bodyweight is good that your motor control at three bodyweight is also going to be good. I use the movement pattern to validate it.
“The one problem with people looking at movement patterns is that they don’t account for restriction. Once again, I’m not saying it needs to be stretched. I’m saying when you don’t have mobility even on the table—you’ve got a restriction—that it would be very hard to evaluate motor control in a quick way because what you’re going to be looking at is all the other motor control that goes around that restriction so you’re going to be basically evaluating compensation.
“But if in the presence of clear mobility, if a movement pattern gets better either loaded or unloaded, you have demonstrated probably better motor control. The pattern once again that we’re back to does that. Now, there are much more scientific ways to do that but you need a quick way to gauge that. If movement got better, then I think motor control probably got better. ” ~ Gray Cook
“If we have a patient or a client who is missing end range shoulder motion, our tendency is to want to stretch the shoulder. But often when we’re missing that end range motion, it’s got nothing to do with the glenohumeral joint. It’s got nothing to do with the shoulder. It has everything to do with the cervical thoracic junction and our upper thoracic spine. That’s the area that needs to be addressed.
“If we continue to stretch and overstretch the shoulder, we’re just going to create a hypermobility in this region, never really addressing the hypomobility in this region. When we’re talking about the cervical thoracic junction, it does need to have some relative rigidity in this area.
“I know that seems counterintuitive to everything I just said about mobility, but that’s not the case. It needs to have relative rigidity. That’s what I’m talking about. It needs to be more rigid than the lower cervical spine. It needs to have more rigidity than the lower thoracic spine, and it needs to have more rigidity compared to the scapula as it moves on the thorax.” ~ Sue Falsone
“We have to guard the information we dispense and we have to think: If it’s functional, it can’t just be an entity unto itself. It can’t be self-serving. If something is functional, it should have carryover. It should reinforce mobility, stability and create a platform for—here’s an important word—adaptability.
“One of the things we see when people have higher functional movement scores on the Functional Movement Screen is they’re not the best athletes. They’re not the biggest, fastest or the strongest. They’re the people who seem to have more durability, and the other side of that coin is adaptability.
“When we see those we know who are aging gracefully—think about it: They adapt. They physically, mentally and emotionally adapt to the situations they’re given.” ~ Gray Cook
“Have you ever thought about supersetting your correctives instead of doing 14 minutes at the front, a bunch of activity in the middle and maybe a cool down on a foam roller?
“Every time you have a rest break from plyometrics, a metabolic set or a heavy low-repetition strength set, have you ever thought of this as a great opportunity for a functional activity or corrective strategy? Insert it right here. Dial them back in.
“Stress the system. Recalibrate. Stress the system. Recalibrate. That way the brain appreciates technique, precision and brute force or resistance to fatigue, explosion or left-right symmetry.
“What I want to do here is sort of challenge the way you’re thinking—the way you’re constructing your programs.” ~ Gray Cook
“Mobility is what the joint can do without external influence. Stability is how well we can maintain a position in the presence of change—it means the ability for a joint or joint system to control movement in the presence of potential change.
“Maybe the joint works with great mobility, but we have to be able to control it the presence of movement. It’s not about holding it still. Too many people think stability is just about holding something still, like a plank or an isometric movement. That’s not what stability is. Stability is the ability to control movement in the presence of change or sometimes to stop movement from happening.
“Flexibility is not mobility. Flexibility is just what a muscle can do. Extensibility—can a muscle get to a new length? It’s not even the same as flexibility. Elasticity is something totally different.
“Mobility is a combination of all these things.” ~ Charlie Weingroff
“Corrective exercise is not a series of exercises designed to diagnose or identify the ‘fix’ for your client’s issues.
“It is a strategy for implementing a thorough assessment, implementing the appropriate releases and activation sequences so that your client can achieve optimal alignment, breathing, and control, and then integrate these principles into the fundamental movement patterns and your client’s functional goals.
“Used judiciously, corrective exercise is a part of an overall training strategy designed to look at your client as an individual and provide them with a viable option for successfully addressing their issues while working towards their functional goals.
“Corrective exercise should enhance and not deter from developing greater strength, mobility, endurance, or other objective outcome. When you understand and integrate a successful corrective exercise strategy, you will help so many clients who have been struggling with chronic issues, safely and effectively accomplish their individual health and fitness goals.
“Why do we lose function, particularly stability, range of motion and movement efficiency? While there are multiple causes of these issues, they essentially fall into one of three primary categories: poor neurodevelopment, injuries and learned behaviors.
- Lack of optimal neurodevelopment
- Trauma including surgeries, injuries (chronic and acute) and emotions
- Learned behaviors
“While the medical field is quick to blame genetics and old age, the resultant poor stabilization and movement patterns that result from improper neurological development, trauma and learned behaviors are the most common reasons for the majority of our client’s degenerative conditions, chronic pain and decreases in overall performance.
“Our job, as well as our challenge as fitness and health care professionals, is to help clients and patients recognize the intimate relationship between how they move and what happens to their body as a direct result of how they move. Regardless of genetics, trauma, disease, past experiences, thoughts, beliefs and previous learned patterns, we can help our patients and clients create positive changes. This is not to suggest that someone with multiple sclerosis or just having suffered a stroke will ever return to a high level function they had prior to the disease. But it is not up to us to place restrictions or limitations upon them. Our job is to teach and empower them to regain their strength, stability, movement awareness and confidence so they can achieve the highest level of function they are able to given the current state. Empower them to challenge the current level with the faith that the nervous system is capable of so much more than it is often given credit for.” ~ Evan Osar
Click here for more reading of Evan Osar on corrective exercise for back pain.