Get Off the Corrective Exercise Bandwagon: The End of All Corrective Exercise
Hi, I am Mike’s Ego
This is based on some thoughts I’ve been having for years and was spurred by a great conversation with Adam T Glass and Frankie Faires a few weekends ago. Scary that we all had similar thoughts.
My goal is not to poke the hornet’s nest again, but to hopefully spark some good discussion and move the industry way ahead. Just so we are clear, we are all adults and I can disagree with someone’s thoughts and that does not mean I hate them as a person or wish any ill will for them. Everyone is doing the best they can at the point they are currently at. My goal is discussion and further advancements in the field for everyone.
Feel free to throw me under the bus as my ego is becoming Gumby like, but I am not the first person to have these thoughts, nor will I be the last.
“My biggest issue with the corrective exercise stuff, as all the bright folks who responded to the post also stated, is that any movement/exercise can be corrective. I think too many of the “experts” have been spewing too much pseudo rehabilitation stuff and now everyone is over-thinking/over-correcting symptoms and playing the role of therapist. I thought exercise in general was therapeutic and pro-active. What about true expert coaching of basics and allowing these basic gross movement patterns to do the correcting? “
–Aaron Schwenzfeier, Strength Coach
“Take a kid that can’t olympic lift well and see what his jumping abilities are. Corrective exercises ripped off from PT are just patch work reruns and tissue texture and great root training is far better than adding glute bridges”.
–Carl Valle, Sprint Coach, Elite Track
Corrective vs Functional Exericse
Send all hate mail to me, not the guys above since I reposted their thoughts, but I hear fitness professionals talk about the difference between “corrective’ vs “functional” exercise.
Heck, I just hear it again today!
What is the difference? Is there one? Are we really helping? Are we physical therapists?
Stop humping a piece of foam!
Corrective Exercise Drills
Corrective drills they say are things like YTWLs (rotator cuff work), scap wall slides, glute bridges, long duration isometric holds, arm bars, Turkish Get Ups with lighter weight, etc that are needed to fix an issue using exercise.
What are YTWLs?
I like the idea of fixing stuff, so we are in agreement there.
Functional Exercise Drills
Functional work is more single leg work (since that is more functional than squats as we spend more time on one leg), push ups, lunges, bench press (or maybe not). These drills make an athlete more “functional”.
If this guy ever shows up in my gym, he better watch out for flying kettlebells
Someone has to put an end to the madness
In all fairness, I am told the trend is moving away from the BOSU ball/balance on everything crap. I would like to believe it, but every time I go into a standard gym I see trainer putting clients and athletes on these contraptions making them look like trained seals. No, not Navy SEALS tough guy, the kind you see in animal shows.
Inbetween we have well intentioned ideas about HOW to do these functional things. Make sure to tighten your glutes, really pack your shoulder in place, and so on (insert smacking my forehead Homer Simpson style)
At the same time, fitness gurus will say that exercise done well (even functional work?) is corrective. I do like that part a bit better.
Anyone confused yet?
I study this stuff for a living and I shake my head in dismay as it is confusing! Who is right? Is there a right?
Hold on Tex
Before you fire off that email to me or post a comment below (I do love comments), note that I am not saying these things can’t work from time to time. Physiology is really messy and lots of stuff may “work” but at what cost and how long does it take? If something truly worked, why would you be doing the EXACT same corrective drills all the times?
Are you just putting a band aid over a bigger issue?
Here We Go, Hold On
Pop quiz time. My students always hated when I would show up to class and say those dreaded three words.
- Should exercise make someone better?
I sure as heck hope so.
- Would you willingly do something that made you worse
I sure hope not.
We are in agreement for now that exercise should make you better. Yes? Nod your head.
If exercise makes you better, you should function better and be more “functional”, right?
Your posture, performance in the gym and on the field, shoulder and back pains (especially low back) should improve over time also.
Do we need to deferentiate between “corrective” and “functional” if the CORRECT exercise for YOU does both by making you better?
If certain exercises are corrective are all the others not corrective? If you are not doing corrective exercise work, are you doing bad exercise?
If all exercise when tested, makes you better, is their really ANY functional/corrective exercise?
I don’t think so.
Everything should make you better.
If not, find something that will make you better.
If you are not sure, ask a better question.
As a side rant, I rarely ever use any of the standard corrective work at all. I have not really used it for almost 2.5 years now.
I test exercise and see what the effect is. If it is better, than we are on the right path.
If it is not better, we try something else. I then show YOU how to test it yourself.
If you are not testing, how do YOU know an exercise is good for YOU?
It is a bit of a head trip and really takes an open mind to try to wrap your head around it, but I know the readers here are up to the task at hand. Your effort will be rewarded.
Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below! Agree or not, let me kow.
If you missed the post yesterday about Frank’s experience testing his exercises, you really need to give it a listen.