Corrective Work: Still Focus on the Fundamental Human Movements!
In the past decade, corrective work has exploded in the health and fitness industry. As always, and this is true about most things in life, we went way too far in one direction and now we are seeing the pendulum swing back to the point that some are saying it is “all” a waste of time. If you don’t know, corrective work can be anything to “hands on” work like chiropractor adjustments and massage to rolling on a lacrosse ball. Of course, it can also simply be basic stretches as old as the yoga tradition or simple gliding mobility moves.
Let me be candid: I think that doing mobility work is important for everyone. Now, telling me that your special brand of mobility work is going to cure cancer or disease is a bit suspicious, if not downright idiotic. So, yes, I want to know how to better move my neck, but closing one eye and moving my wrist is not going to cure a necrotic hip, no matter how much you spent on that cert last weekend.
So, with corrective work, the best coaches and trainers are doing it. And, generally, they are doing it very well. The problem is with “enough is enough.”
Corrective work can go too far with bands, sticks, bells, wheels and whistles. If the fundamental human movements are key, then demanding them will start the process for many towards the goal of moving better and moving longer. The key to correction is to have a toolkit of regressive movements that allow one to deload and destress the person so that can move comfortably and pain free.
As a young football player, I was shown to use my helmet as a weapon. This “face tackle” was considered “better” as it would hurt the opponent. And, unreasonably, I could break my neck. The funny thing is this: it wasn’t a good way to tackle a runner as it was difficult to “wrap and roll” with your head in the way.
The old stand-by, the shoulder tackle, is not only safer but it is better. Safety is part of performance. Over time, putting a weight correctly back on the ground is going to do more for your back health than all of the correctives I can teach you after you haphazardly lower the load and hurt your lower back. Performance in the weight room should be like gymnastics: you should be striving for perfection the moment you begin until the moment you finish.
The first step to correcting problems is to avoid them. Proper coaching and proper techniques are much less expensive than surgeries.
It’s pretty simple, statistically:
- Don’t smoke.
- Wear your seat belt.
- Learn to fall and recover.
- Eat colorful veggies.
- Exercise about half an hour a day.
- Don’t let your weight get over 300 pounds.
And…that’s it. That’s all valuable and good and correct. Grandma knew/knows this.
When it comes to correctives and corrective work, we must first make sure we are dealing with the basics of risk. After that, we have to get a bit smarter. As I always tell people: “sure, YOU can do this and that and this and that, but what about the rest of us with these things called “lives?” So, before you spend two hours a day with your magic tape and magic wand, try the basics.
Strive for balance in terms of volume in your push and pull work. Learn to squat deep and master the movement. Be reasonable when you deadlift. Find softer paths for your running workouts when you can. If you bicycle, wear appropriate protective gear. If you decide to do water sports, learn to swim and wear gear that floats. And Grandma probably knows this, too. Let’s start the new year with a focus on less injuries and more success.