Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Exercise Corrective

There has been some very good answers to my Just Questions... post. What I was hoping to do was ignite some thinking, especially regarding the corrective exercise stuff that seems to be the latest way to make money in the health and exercise industry.

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 theraputic and pro-active. What about true expert coaching of basics and allowing these basic gross movement patterns to do the correcting?

It's important to not settle for average technique and try to patch everything up with "corrective" work. Let's allow for individuals to access their motor learning capacities. Language, quality demonstration, and effective coaching cues are important here. Using language with a little emotion goes a long way as well. Watch a group getting an energetic talk about correct lifting posture. What do you notice? The audience begins to straighten-up.

I have dumped much of the activation/prehab/rehab work from most if not all the programs I write now, and have had hardly any issues because of it. I've been demanding in the correct technique of the major barbell and dumbell lifts and bodyweight movement. I also make sure to leave the weightroom as a place to develop strength and power, and have done as much as I can to get more time of our training sessions outside the weightroom for movement/speed/agility work. What's been amazing is how "corrective" good quality movement training and basic strength and power lifts can be. Repetition and patience is important... the athlete needs practice and time, and it's amazing what happens when it is given.

The major point here is, if one gets much better at coaching the basics and has a thorough understanding of the mechanics and physiology of basic exercise, it becomes much easier to spot problems that need correcting/adjustments. Now every moment spent with an athlete or client becomes an assessment and less time needs to be spent on specific assessment sessions and filling an athletes time and energy with more exercises than needed. Every individual only has a finite capacity for attention and energy. Let's put it to use with the most effective methods.

Obviously there is a time and place for "corrective" type work, but let's not make and lead everyone to believe they are a patient.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


"We need to teach weight trainers to work HARD. Not the pseudo stuff. Not the artificial gimaces, grunts and groans, but what my friend Mike Thompson calls 'THE REAL THING." Once lifters learn what hard work is really all about, and what it can do for a man, they will drop the all day idiot routines and the marathon training schedules like they were last week's garbage on a hot day in August. They will become dinosaurs: savage denizens of dungeon gyms who live for that extra rep, that extra pound of iron, and the feral thrill of bloody combat with an iron bar.

Do your own part to aid the revolution. Train hard. Train ferociously hard. Train as though your life depended on squeezing every last bit of effort from your body. Train so hard that a couple of hard exercises will knock you into next Tuesday. Train so hard that the mere idea of going to the gym on less than 48 or 72 hours rest is an absurdity. Train so hard that the four hour a day, six day a week crowd will barf in their water bottles when they see you in action. Strike a blow for dinosaurs. Strike a blow for men. Have the courage to train HARD. Have the courage to use an abbreviated program. Be a DINOSAUR!"

-Brooks Kubik. Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength Development.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Questions...

1. Does corrective exercise work? If so, does context make a difference?

2. Does corrective exercise address the cause or the symptom?

3. If all you're looking for is movement dysfunction, is all you find is movement dysfunction?

4. What happens to the psychology of an athlete when they have to follow corrective exercise protocols vs. the regular heavy training that the rest of his or her teammates are doing?

5. Should my kids get the flu shot; or does it just depend on who you talk to?

6. Is what we know about human gait wrong because we have been skewed by footwear?

7. Athletic training staffs across the country receive information from Perform Better with the latest being a email newsletter: "The Death of the Squat". With Coach Mike Boyle's latest "thought process"... being an "expert" with Perform Better... does this mean that we, as strength coaches who still have our athletes squat, now have to deal with possibly added resistance from the sports medicine staff about 'what we do', because a very well-known coach now says they are bad?

I would love to hear anyone's thoughts to any of these questions. Thanks.