Corrective Exercise – Part I – The Whys and the Foundation.

Posted: January 27, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Articles

The fitness industry loves fads and it loves buzz words. The current fad we are in is the “high intensity,” “workout til you vomit,” “lie in a pile of mess on the floor,”… fad.

CrossFit CoolDown

This is not fitness.

We used to sit on machines that did all the stabilizing for us, isolated muscle groups that weren’t meant to be isolated and jacked up our posture as we trolled along thinking we were bodybuilders – I’ve been there, chances are you have as well.

It’s what we were taught in the 90s and early 2000s. This was accepted because the average person didn’t work that hard – but still wanted to “strength train.” But the problem was they didn’t get results and they definitely got tighter and moved even more poorly than when they started. Not what we need.

But now it seems the pendulum has swung to the opposite side and we see the picture above.

I’ll say one good thing about Crossfit, P90X, Insanity etc (though only one :p )– they have done a fairly good job at bringing a higher level intensity to the mainstream, because the cold truth is, no matter what you do, you have to work hard, you moreso have to work responsibly but you have to work hard. And that is where the aforementioned drop the ball. Making yourself tired for the sake of making yourself tired, well… makes you tired. Doesn’t make you better or necessarily get results, and could injure you.

Bottom line – results and responsible working out still requires effort and intensity. Just not the lying dead on the floor kind of intensity. And what you do DOES matter. Going balls to the wall on Zumba wont get you hurt, but it wont get you ideal, sustainable results. And the aforementioned may get you some short term results but they will likely injure you and aren’t sustainable.

The pendulum swung too far and it went from “I need to bring some more intensity to my workouts” to “Well if I need to bring some intensity I may as well do advanced exercises that are too advanced for me (or just in there to make you tired…) at an intensity level that is too high for me… and work myself into the ground.”

I’ve made it a point not to mention it too often but an “advanced” crossfitter just severed his spine in one of their “competitions.” A system that sets you up to fail leads to failure more often.

Worst of all, this high intensity revolution came at a time where people were moving terribly, worse than ever before. Sedentary lifestyles full of endless sitting, not moving enough and doing the wrong things left people at best – stiff, immobile and unable to perform everyday tasks and at worse, straight up injured. As a general population, we don’t have the same quality of movement we once had and that leads to all kinds of problems.

No matter what the clients goal is, whether it is fat loss, athletic performance, mud runs, get stronger etc – our programming at Twoguns Training Systems also includes the goal of moving optimally and pain free, first and foremost. “First move well, then move often,” (credit: Gray Cook). If we don’t move well, we aren’t going to get to our main goal anyway, so we find a way to blend them.

Shooting Stance Squat

Did you know this is how the military used to teach a shooting stance?

It makes sense, you are a smaller target to your enemy and you have a strong, stable base to shoot from.  So what happened to it? People couldn’t do it anymore. And this is the elite portion of the population – not the average Joe or Jane. To justify it, it was said it was bad for your knees to squat that low – even though we used to do it all the time and other countries still do…

Sorry third world countries, you are no longer able to go #2, and if you are a woman, you cant use the bathroom altogether unless you like peeing on your feet – it is bad for your knees. Sounds silly when you say it out loud but that’s how it works now.

And side note – if anyone, especially a fitness professional still tells you that squats are bad for your knees – find someone else 🙂

And now the point of this article after my longwinded introduction and backstory to my point… So… how do we fix all of this? We move poorly, we do stupid shit – How do we fix it and get to our goals in an effective and timely manner?

We do this through the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Getting a full Functional Movement Screen from a fitness professional certified in the FMS is the starting point for finding which approach is best for you – because all approaches and exercises aren’t right for everyone.

We’ve mentioned the squat earlier but in addition to the squat, the FMS screens single leg stance, split stance, upper body mobility, lower body mobility and two different core/stability or primitive patterns – and this gives us the roadmap to where we need correction and where we do not.

If you take away from this article – take this… The best exercises for you – for any goal – are the ones that meet you where you and your ability level are.

Doing a corrective exercise for your shoulder mobility, if you don’t have a shoulder mobility issue wont hurt you but it wont do you much good either. But if it means ignoring your lower body mobility issue – that might hurt you. Training a faulty pattern because you are prioritizing a functional one may very well get you injured.

If you cannot hinge – you are not better off doing a trap bar deadlift or a kettlebell swing – you are best served patterning that hinge and possibly progressing to something like a dumbbell romanian deadlift or an elevated deadlift pattern that meets you where you are. You find success when you lose your ego. And you use a movement screen as your roadmap.

First step, is to get an FMS. The second and the foundation for corrective exercises and the best “corrective exercise” as a whole is avoiding the exercises that make you move worse and don’t promote optimal movement. This includes…

– Doing exercises above your current ability level…

Bad Deadlift
Not a bad exercise at all, in fact one of the best when done correctly. But certainly a bad exercise for him and his ability level.

– Doing exercises incorrectly…

Jillian Michaels
I might have an idea why you have back pain and poor lower body mobility…

– Doing all around useless/”why are you doing that” exercises.

behind-the-back-pulldowns
I might know why this guy’s neck and shoulders and jacked up…

This first step in “corrective exercise” and cleaning up peoples movement so they can move well and move often is to eliminate the things that make you move poorly. It seems simple and obvious but all the high quality work we do in the gym and during workouts wont mean nearly as much if the things that are making you worse are still present. We can give you the best exercise and fitness program with the best corrective exercises for you and your needs, but if you just go back to the things that make you move poorly, it makes it a whole lot harder to make the corrections and proper movements stick.

The next installments will go over what to do once we’ve eliminate the negatives and know what to approach. As always be sure to let me know what you think and if you have any questions.

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