Corrective exercise is often overlooked as a tool by personal trainers and fitness professionals to help clients reach their goals for the simple reason that most trainers aren’t qualified to deliver at this specialized level. It’s not glamorous like HIIT workouts or powerlifting as it requires an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology, however, Tiger Athletic: Corrective Exercise To Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals
There are many reasons we make corrective exercises a part of each client’s training routine:
- Pain relief,
- Greater mobility,
- Injury prevention,
- And injury recovery.
These are all important, and what most people think about when considering corrective exercise, but what many trainers don’t realize is that corrective work isn’t just for people already in pain or suffering an injury.
Corrective exercise is also great for improving athletic performance and getting to fitness goals faster. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of corrective exercise and why I implement it with all of my clients.
What is Corrective Exercise?
Corrective exercise is very much like how it sounds. It is any type of exercise that helps correct some faulty movement or positioning in the body that contributes to or causes pain, injury, or other dysfunction. If you are not moving correctly or have poor form, I can use corrective exercises to modify and fix it.
The overreaching goal of corrective exercises is to improve movements and positioning of the body to improve both athletic performance and everyday life. As your personal trainer and a practitioner of corrective exercise, I identify poor patterns in movement and look for the underlying causes. With an understanding of this, I can then determine the simplest exercise that will correct them.
The actual corrective exercises you might use to help you are numerous and vary depending on individual needs. Some examples and types of exercises used for correction include:
- Foam rolling for stretching and myofascial release.
- Corrective breathing exercises to promote optimal motor learning.
- Structural alignments for trunk stability, such as exercises to align the pelvis and trunk stability rolls.
- Postural stability holds.
- Hardstyle plank to activate multiple muscles, including those that are underactive.
- Reverse lunges with a band to take pressure off knees and strengthen muscles for lower back pain relief.
- Exercises to correct hip hinge posture.
- Postural stability holds with head movements to correct shoulder and arm dysfunctions.
- Activating the posterior tibialis for correcting foot alignment.
- Exercises to correct posture and form while standing and sitting at a desk.
These are just a few examples of the many different corrective exercises I use with clients to improve form and movement and to develop fitness while relieving pain and preventing injuries.
Beyond How Corrective Exercise Helps Clients Reach Fitness Goals – Quality of Life
As a personal trainer, my responsibility to clients goes beyond hitting fitness goals. Fitness is important, of course, but correct movements, reduced chronic pain, and fewer injuries are other factors I help clients improve. Using corrective exercises to work on these allows me to help my clients enjoy an overall better quality of life.
Many of the aches and pains of daily life can be attributed to tight muscles, movement dysfunctions, and similar issues. A sore lower back may be related to weakness in core muscles, while neck pain can be caused by poor posture, for example. I assess my client to figure out what kind of dysfunction is causing the pain, then select a few targeted, regular exercises that can fix it.
Chronic pain, motor dysfunction, tight joints, and other similar issues that correction can address often restrict mobility. Pain and mobility especially go hand-in-hand. If you can correct one, you can fix both. Corrective exercise has the potential to allow my client to move more freely.
For instance, when I have an older client who is finding functional movements more difficult, strengthening key muscles can make everything from getting into the car to lifting groceries easier and less painful greatly improving their quality of life.
Recovering From and Preventing Injury
Injuries hold us back in so many ways. Even for non-athletes, being injured means being sidelined from life. A good corrective exercise program can prevent injuries by fixing dysfunctions of movement. A well-designed program can also help a client recover more quickly from an injury by balancing muscle strength and improving joint movements.
The Benefits of Corrective Exercise for Fitness
A corrective exercise program that is targeted to an individual client’s needs, deficiencies, and goals can help improve their overall fitness. It can also improve specific areas of fitness and help them reach their goals more quickly, whether the goal is to be able to work out with less pain or to run a marathon.
How Corrective Exercise Helps Clients Reach Fitness Goals by Improving Efficiency
One of the simplest strategies I can implement corrective exercises with my clients is by fixing how they perform specific training moves. For instance, if I have a client who cannot complete a lunge without bringing their front knee past their toes, it’s fairly easy to correct.
I show the client the right form and have them practice the move keeping the knee in the right position. With time and focus and they will correct it and be able to do lunges correctly and get all the strength benefits from them.
This kind of corrective exercise work is usually the first thing I try. If poor form continues, there may be an underlying issue that will require other corrective moves, such as stretches, foam rolling, or the strengthening of specific muscles.
But, it’s ideal when my corrections of form improve how you perform actual exercises this, in turn, improves your strength, flexibility, power, or conditioning. I train my client more efficiently by not taking time away from these important exercises or spending more time than is needed on stretches and other corrective moves. With more focus on actual workouts and more effective movements, my clients reach fitness goals more quickly and efficiently.
Corrective Exercises Gets Clients off the Bench
Clients suffering from injuries need corrective work to get them back into the game sooner. My clients cannot meet their goals if they are unable to work out or practice due to an injury. The quicker I can get them back to normal functioning with corrective exercises, the closer they will be to achieving those fitness goals.
For some clients, a fitness goal is simply being able to be active without pain. That pain may come from an old injury, or it may come from muscle imbalances and dysfunctional movements. In any case, I can help them meet that goal using corrective exercises to relieve pain and improve mobility.
Preventing Injuries in the First Place
It’s not possible to prevent all injuries or to assure my clients that if they follow my program they won’t get hurt. However, with corrective exercise work, it is possible to reduce the risk of injuries. This is because the work I do will make your body more durable, more able to withstand the wear and tear of daily life, sports participation, and accidents.
I can do this for my clients by working on strategic areas of corrective exercise: strengthening key muscles and those that are comparably weak, strengthening joints, increasing joint and muscle flexibility, improving mobility, and improving the ability to activate and control muscles and body movements.
Anyone, from athletes to newbies in the gym, can improve their athletic performance. Whether it’s Super Rugby Athlete or a weekend warrior I’m coaching to a new goal or new runner looking to do a sub-30 minute 5k, everyone can improve.
Corrective exercises help improve performance in several ways. They can be used to strengthen weaker, underutilized muscles; they can improve poor motor control in specific types of movements, and they can relieve stiffness in joints and increase range of motion.
Depending on my client’s sport and individual goals, I choose the right exercises to correct what holds them back from peak performance.
Who Can Benefit from Corrective Exercise?
All of my clients benefit from corrective exercise. The way most of us live our modern lives is a recipe for functional movement disaster. We spend hours at a desk or hunched over a smartphone. Then, many of us jump into action doing some pretty extreme sports, like CrossFit and powerlifting.
The sedentary lifestyle with poor posture alone is enough for most of us to be able to benefit from corrective exercise. But this, combined with extreme exercise sessions, means everyone will see improvements in movement, pain, injury, performance, and fitness goals.
Inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for poor overall health. But what makes modern sedentary lifestyles even more damaging is the fact that we tend to combine inactivity with very poor posture. Many people spend hours a day with computers or devices, shoulders anteriorly rotated, spine rounded, and head tipped forward, putting tremendous pressure on the neck, shoulders, and spine.
Explosive Physical Activity, Followed by Inactivity
Another modern phenomenon is that many of us spend an hour or so per day engaged in explosive athletic activities. High-intensity workouts are popular, so many of us go from sitting with poor posture for hours on end to engaging in these complex movements for which our bodies are not really prepared.
The meeting point of inactivity, poor posture, and intense workouts leads to a high degree of movement dysfunction. But, of course, as your trainer, I know that this can be fixed. Anyone can benefit from some type of corrective exercise to improve posture during inactive hours and form when working out.
Using corrective exercises to help your clients is a skill developed training and coaching for two decades. Basic form adjustments are within the wheelhouse of most certified trainers. But to really delve into helping clients move better to perfect form, prevent injuries, reduce pain, and perform better athletically, you need a corrective exercise specialist.
Some clients in certain situations will need a doctor or physical therapist. Trainers, unfortunately, cannot fix everything. As your personal trainer, I always recommend that you engage with your primary healthcare provider before engaging in any new form of exercise.
You’ll want to go for steady progress over time and to make lifestyle changes that work for you for the long run. That way you can start losing weight and feel better.
Tiger Athletic is a modern, private, appointment-only gym in Sandton, Johannesburg using a rigorous, results-focused methodology we are passionate about helping you be the healthiest version of yourself, so you can lead a more fulfilling personal and professional life.
Our sessions are strictly 1 on 1 just you and your trainer. There is nobody else in the gym and all equipment used is sanitized at the end of each session for the safety of all my clients.