Functional Exercise vs Corrective Exercise

In follow-up to Sue Falsone and Gray Cook’s conversation about functional training, let’s continue: What’s the difference between functional exercise and corrective exercise? Do you know?

Stop right here for a sec and consider that. Can you give a confident answer?

When Gray Cook called to start the planning for his Key Functional Exercises You Should Know video, he asked me that question. As I heard him speaking, I instantly assumed after years of corrective exercise immersion, I’d have a good response. But as the words started coming out of my mouth, I quickly floundered and my answer fizzled to mush. After six or eight years of reading, self-practice and discovery, I didn’t have a solid answer.

Many of us in our various backgrounds are using corrective exercise for fitness, sports performance and rehabilitation. As you think about that, you’ll realize the corrective exercise concept of improving movement dysfunction might be somewhat standard, but those recipients are quite different.

Are you skilled enough to recognize those differences and implement a similar but different solution to each target group? Better yet, can you make changes on the fly as you work with individual client needs, and as those needs change from week to week or workout to workout…or minute to minute?

Tune in as Gray brings clarity to the corrective hierarchy. In this lecture, filmed live for DVD, he’ll explain the differences between functional and corrective exercise. He’ll provide the goals of both, and describe what each is best for and the challenges they present.

Then he gives us his top exercise choices, those Key Functional Exercises You Should Know, and teaches us the order to use them—and why. For each of the these, the chop & lift, the deadlift and the Turkish getup, he details his favorite variations, the verbal instructions he uses, then moves to live demonstration with on-the-fly corrections. This is followed by his commentary and a question-and-answer session.

Certainly Gray spends a lot of time discussing the four specific exercises, but what he also does is use these key exercises as a wrapper for his most important functional and corrective tools. Yes, he gives detailed instructions on what to look for in exercise execution. But there’s much more interwoven throughout: Why is this important?

This is the question many trainers and corrective exercise specialists and enthusiasts forget to ask. The question shouldn’t whether an exercise works; that’s the easy answer most everyone already knows. The better questions are, how is it working and why would each individual need it.

Gray will answer those questions for you in this lecture—those questions you didn’t know to ask.

As you watch your clients doing their corrective exercises today, do more than watch form. Ask yourself why you selected a particular exercise. What exactly is your goal for that exercise, for that person? Is it doing what you think it’s doing? Is it doing the same thing for your first client as it’s doing for the second?

These are the type of questions Gray proposes—and then answers—in this thought-provoking lecture.

Of course form is important. But it turns out, that’s only the first step.

Knowing quality form when you see it, and being able to offer the perceptive corrections to trigger righting responses is the foundation of what Gray will teach you in this lecture. Then he’ll build on that to help you think through the deeper levels of how these exercises work, and why you’d use one exercise over another for each of your clients.

A firm grasp of these concepts will help you make a bigger difference for your clients.

And that makes for a fulfilling day at work.

We’re constantly learning important tips from Gray. His lectures are packed with off-the-cuff gems, scattered with what for him are throwaway comments that stop us cold: Wow, so that’s how that works!

More preview clips are here.