by Ryan Burke

“Sitting is the root of all evil!” Juan Carlos Santana, Med, CSCS. NASM-CPT

As the owner of The Institute of Human Performance, Juan Carlos Santana has served a wide variety of fitness clients. His experience has made one thing quite clear: sitting too much causes movement problems. Our experience at One on One has been exactly the same. We have come to learn that correcting these problems should be a priority with all fitness programs.

Sitting too much leads to a host of problems, including generalized weakness, weight gain, low functional capacity, chronic disease, poor posture, and orthopedic problems. As most One on One clients understand, fitness training is the solution to these problems. But like most things in life, it’s not just what you do, but how you do it. We too often embark on a fitness program without addressing the “little things” like postural alignment, joint mobility, and sound motor control first. However, it is these little things that lay the foundation for the rest of our fitness work; they are what lead to authentic functional movement.

Authentic functional movement refers to the body’s ability to move in natural, healthy, and efficient ways. It’s easy to see how injury or illness could interfere with this natural movement and cause dysfunctional movement patterns, but it is also important to remember that inactivity (e.g. too much sitting) can lead to similarly dysfunctional movement. Starting a fitness regime without correcting dysfunctional movement leads to more dysfunction and, often times, injury. It’s easy to see how this cycle can self-perpetuate! In fact, it is impossible to exercise your way out of dysfunction without first correcting your movement patterns. Quality movement needs to be established through corrective exercise prior to, or in coordination with, your exercise program.

In order to assess, rate, and rank our clients’ movement patterns, One on One has adopted the Functional Movement Screen by Gray Cook. This screen gives us insight into possible movement deficiencies and musculoskeletal dysfunction. Because the screen is consistent in its ability to expose weaknesses, it is easy for our trainers to identify which areas need improvement and create a program that addresses the dysfunction. These corrective exercise programs can involve a wide spectrum of activities including yoga, pilates, classical strength training, jump rope training, kettlebell training, and many more exercise disciplines. Corrective exercise is not a one-size-fits-all approach; a client who is recovering from athletic injury will have different needs from one who’s trying to overcome decades of inactivity. However, all corrective exercise programs follow the same algorithm: establish proper mobility, learn how to control that new mobility, then learn to perform movements with this newfound mobility and control. At One on One, our knowledge and experience helps us to move each individual client through that algorithm quickly.

No matter what your fitness goal, corrective exercise can help. In the Praeger Handbook of Sports Medicine and Athlete Health, Bruce and Kym Burke define fitness as “having the physical ability to do what you reasonably want for the rest of your life”. We want to see our clients who are grandparents get on the floor and play with their grandchildren; outdoorsmen/women hike, fish, hunt, and climb with ease; golfers extend their playing careers; athletes compete longer and with a lower risk of injury. The list goes on and on, and corrective exercise is crucial to safely and efficiently meeting any of these fitness goals. Talk to your trainer about conducting a Functional Movement Screen to begin prioritizing your corrective exercise program.

Check out the video in the sidebar to see my favorite corrective exercises.