What is corrective exercise? Lately this seems to be the latest fad in the gym. People toss around the term, “I’m strengthening my core” or “I’m doing my corrective exercises”. But what is the true definition of a corrective based exercise?
A corrective exercise is pretty much “any” exercise that neutralizes the pelvis and brings the load bearing joints back to their optimal alignment. In my opinion, correctives will differ for each individual.
Okay, so I know some of you are saying, well what does “that” mean? Let me explain:
The human body has four load bearing joints: The ankles, knees, hips and shoulders.
These joints should line up both horizontally and vertically in order to create optimal stability throughout the body and have ideal length/tension relationships between the muscles surrounding a joint.
So if you were to build a building, for it to be stable you would want the bricks in line both horizontally and vertically right? The same goes for the human body.
A great experiment is to face a mirror. March in place with your eyes closed and let your body fall still naturally. Now look in the mirror. Are your feet pointed straight ahead? Are your knees facing straight? Are your hips and shoulders level? Now face the side. Is your body vertically aligned or are your hips forward of your ankles? Are your hips relatively level or are they tilted up (posterior) or down (anterior)? Is your upper back rounded? Are your shoulders protracted? Is your head forward?
If you found any deviations, then chances are, you could benefit from corrective based exercises that restore alignment so your body can function at its optimal level. Corrective exercise is not just about resolving pain symptoms, although that is an added benefit; it’s about restoring function. Pain is just an indicator that dysfunction is present.
When a joint isn’t working as it’s designed to, musculoskelatal compensations occur to achieve the desired task. This creates altered length tension releationships between the muscles surrounding a joint and bilateral disparities The body is smart! It will find the easiest way to accomplish a movement when dysfunction is present. It’s our job to find corrective exercises to influence the muscular system in order to get the joints functioning correctly again. The by product to restoring function is a reduction in pain. Many people continue to treat symptoms with cortisone injections, pain meds and surgery; however, until you address the underlying issues that are “causing” the pain, dysfunciton remains and pain is likely to reoccur.
If you suffer from any of the following, postural alignment therapy can benefit you:
<div style=”color:red;”>Bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, heel spurs
Calf strains, shin splints
Lower back pain
Spondylolysthesis, stenosis, sciatica, buldging discs, disc herniation
Thoracic back symptoms
Shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, thoracic outlet syndrome
Neck and upper trap pain</div>
Getting a set of customoized exercises that “actually” correct “your” unique alignment will take out the guess work in your training program design. Having a picture taken to see which load bearing joints are out of alignment and which muscles need to be stretched/released and which need to be strengthened allows us to customize your program. Holding planks, side planks and doing squats and lunges are all good and fine, but unless the body is aligned, you could be “strengthening” dysfunction. Feel free to check out my website at www.alignedfit.com for more information about postural therapy or pick up the book “Pain Free” by Pete Egoscue.
Lisa Decker M.S.
CPT, CES, PES, PAS, SPN