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Should I do corrective exercise even when I'm not injured?

The short answer to your question is yes, but I think we need to explore this topic a little further. By definition Corrective Exercise Training accomplishes two things. First and foremost it is designed to correct muscle imbalances, joint dysfunctions, neuromuscular problems, and postural distortion patterns that the everyday person or athlete may have developed during everyday actives or from playing a long season. The second thing that Corrective Exercise can be used for is the process of injury reduction. When used for this purpose one is taking a proactive approach to protecting one’s self from injury. Establishing correct length tension relationships in muscles, creating mobility around joints, activating (or turning on) muscles, establishing core stability, and integrating the human movement system are all by products of corrective exercise; all of which will improve life quality and performance as well as to help reduce the likelihood of injury.

In the fitness industry different terms are used by different people to describe the process of Corrective exercise. Mark Verstegen of Athletes Performance institute (API) refers to corrective exercise as “Regeneration” and “Prehab”, Mike Boyle of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning will use the terms “Self-Myofascial Release, Static Stretching, and Activation” and Dr. Micheal Clark the president and CEO of The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) developed a Corrective Exercise Continuum where the terms “Inhibit, Lengthen, Activate and Integrate” are used. So in the end the name does not matter, what does matter is that you do it and do it correctly because it will either help correct problems, recondition individuals and improve total kinetic chain structural integrity or it will help prevent / reduce injury and prepare the individual for the higher-intensity training that will come down the road.

Yes! The beauty of a well-designed corrective exercise plan is that it addresses the causes of current and potential injuries, not just the symptoms. As an athlete, you should be proactive - giving care and consideration to subtle nuances in your movement or discomforts that could turn into future problems. As such, corrective exercises address possible mechanisms and problem areas that are common in an athlete's sport-related movement. Placing corrective exercise within the warm-up and cool down of any workout is a smart way to keep yourself feeling good and to avoid injuries in the future.

Eric Beard
Sports Medicine

100%! Corrective exercise can not only help to reduce risk of injury but help you get more out of your workout,  game,  practice or hobby.  It can loosen up tight muscles, strengthen weak muscles as well as improve posture and coordination. You can apply corrective exercise workouts in short bursts as "movement preparation" before your main workout or use them as recovery days in between longer more intense workouts. Everyone should be performing corrective exercise techniques.

Absolutely! The power of corrective exercise is to inhibit muscles using self-myofascial release (foam roller), lengthening muscles using static stretching/neuromuscular stretching, activating muscles using positional isometrics & isolated strengthening and tying it all together with integrated dynamic movements. The benefits are increased range of motion, reduced muscle soreness and overall better quality of life.

Absolutely! Our bodies have tendencies to be lazy and look for the simplest and easiest ways to perform, which is not always what is best for us. So coming back to corrective exercise is a great way to keep our body ever mindful of posture and correct movement.

I fine foam rolling first thing in the morning so helpful in starting my day. It works out the knots and kinks and gets the circulation going. It’s so relaxing and stress flows right out of your body. Stretching brings muscles back to proper length and relieves pressure on your joints. Full range of movement stretching and exercises keeps you good and flexible. So by all means, come back to corrective exercise regularly whether your injured or not.

The problem with corrective exercise is you do not understand the importance of it until you need it.  When you are injured or have stiff joints then you start thinking about flexibility and range of motion but usually not until then.

Corrective exercise should absolutely be done as a preventative measure  but most people do not even know what corrective exercise is.  They just know you do some stretches, do some cardio, hit some machines and do some abs.  Most people do not understand the importance of how the body works mechanically, how everything is inter-connected and how injuries actually happen.  If they understand then usually they do not care.

I have had several clients who I have given corrective homework to and then see them not do it due to it being boring or non-sexy!  :)

I myself did not understand the importance until I actually became a corrective exercise specialist.  It is not the responsibility of the client or member to figure it out because either they will not understand or not care.  It is our job as fitness professionals to get the advanced certification and then really educate our clients on the importance.

Show them what happens to their feet during exercise, their lower back, knees, hips and shoulders during exercise.  I even take videos to show my clients.  Generally if they can see what they are doing they will know and they will understand much more greatly.  Even better if you are a fit pro then put on some free seminars and inform people on what corrective exercise is and how it will benefit them.

Corrective exercise does not have to be some big ordeal, simply doing a few minutes per day and consistently doing it can drastically help.  I as a former national level bodybuilder could not longer do squats due to severally inflamed patella tendons.  After foam rolling and strengthening my tibialis muscles and abductors, the pain went completely away and could get back to normal movement and squatting.

Corrective exercise is your insurance policy for preventing injury, over-training, and ensuring continual results. Corrective exercise focuses on keeping all the joints, muscles, and bones in our body in proper alignment through continual improvements in flexibility, the ability of muscles to work at their optimal levels (activation), and all your muscles working together as a team (integration) during exercise, athletics, and the activities of daily living or occupation. Nobody has “perfect” muscle and joint balance; everyone shows some sort of compensation whether they are a beginner or professional athlete. It is important to address any compensation found and include corrective measures in your program during warm up activities, super sets with your complex or athletic lifts, or on non-lifting days if you want to prevent a lapse in your fitness efforts.

 Furthermore, it is just as important to rest the body as it is to break the body down. Jillian Michaels states, “Exercise is the architect, rest is the builder.” Corrective exercise can effectively be cycled into your OPT model as a recovery workout, rest week, or taper before any sporting event.

If you would like some examples of great corrective exercises to include in your regular fitness routine, visit my blog page. Good luck!! 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.