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What is Corrective Exercise?

Nov 23, 2022

Most people understand the benefits of exercising. Whether it’s lifting weights to gain strength, running for heart health, or going to yoga classes for flexibility and stress relief, there are many methods to get a good sweat in. One such methodology that is making its way into personal training circles is called corrective exercise. Like all forms of exercise, corrective exercise serves a purpose. Corrective exercise is a systematic process of identifying movement dysfunction, creating a corrective plan with specific movements, and implementing this plan. Some of the benefits of corrective based exercise are: enhanced movement performance and efficiency, increased injury resistance, and improved workout and injury recovery.

So how does it work? Well, while everyone is different in their own special way, all bodies work the same. Everyone has the same muscles that move the same bones that make up the same joints. As such, it is very visible to a trained eye when one of these joints is not in the correct position or is not moving properly. Because the body is an interconnected machine, when one part of the machine breaks down, the whole body suffers. This idea actually has a name: the regional interdependence model. The following excerpt from the NASM’s book on corrective exercise elaborates further on the idea.

“Dynamic movements such as throwing, hitting, and serving occur as the result of integrated, multisegmented, sequential joint motion and muscle activation. This system is referred to as the kinetic chain (Sciascia & Cromwell, 2012). Proper utilization of the kinetic chain allows maximal force to develop at the legs and hips through the core, which can then be efficiently transferred to the arm. For the tasks to be effective and efficient, the different body segments must have optimal amounts of joint flexibility and strength. When the body segments do not have the required flexibility or strength along the kinetic chain, increased load and stress may occur on the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints, which can lead to dysfunction in other areas away from the dysfunctional segments.”

You might not think that the hand could be so closely connected to the hip, but in full body human movement, the two are closely linked. One study looking into the effect of hip mobility on pitching velocity supports the regional interdependence model.

“The restricted mobility of the hip becomes the limiting factor of ground reaction force transfer to the upper extremities. Robb et al. (2010) found that poor hip range of motion adversely affected pitching biomechanics and ball velocity. Two of the key components to pitching velocity are hip range of motion and trunk rotation. This study demonstrated that by improving hip range of motion, trunk rotation also improves, allowing more opportunity for hip to shoulder separation, and therefore greater velocity. This study also showed good hip mobility increased stride length, which is an indication of more power from the lower body and perceived velocity to the hitter.”

In more ways than one, the different segments of our body are very reliant on each other. It is a corrective exercise specialists job to assess each segment and determine if its function could be improved with selective strength or mobility work. Just like understanding training or nutrition, understanding corrective exercise is just another tool in the tool belt of the personal trainers here at Fitness Together!



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