Hello and welcome! My name is Kelly Williams and I’m a corrective exercise specialist! Most of us will need corrective exercise at some point in our life, but no one really understands what it is or why it’s important. I’d love to shine some light on the subject!
WHAT IS CORRECTIVE EXERCISE?
Corrective exercise (CE) is an exercise strategy that focuses on improving:
- joint discomfort
- joint mobility and range of motion
Basically, I assess how you align (your posture) and how you move.
CE isn’t a type of exercise like Zumba, Jazzercise, Yoga, or Pilates. Those example exercise formats all include specific exercises, stretches, or music that are unique to the exercise brand.
The CE approach doesn’t operate on trademarked moves, music, or a class format. This is because it’s not focused on the outcome of a “workout” or “relaxation” but rather the result of healthy movement in your joints.
HEALTHY JOINT MOVEMENT
Every bone, muscle, and piece of connective tissue in your body has specific “jobs” they’re designed to perform.
For example, the bones of your cervical spine (the bones in your neck) are designed to give your head stability and mobility¹.
These bones are aligned in a certain formation and if they’re pulled out of alignment with a forward head posture, they’re not in a position to perform their job at an optimal level.
The result is less stability and less mobility in your neck and head. This can result in neck stiffness, headaches, and possibly overtime – bone and joint deterioration in the cervical spine.
Therefore, healthy movement in any joint means less discomfort, improved posture, and more energy in your overall daily activities.
Your daily activities include everything! How you walk, how you climb stairs, how you sit, how you load your car, how you push a grocery cart or stroller, how you exercise, etc.
IS CORRECTIVE EXERCISE A MEDICAL SERVICE?
No. CE isn’t a medical or clinical service.
CE doesn’t replace the work or necessity of Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists, Doctors, and other licensed healthcare professionals.
Let me repeat – CE is exercise – it’s not medicine, therapeutic, or chiropractic care. It can be used in conjunction with these services (with doctor approval), but it doesn’t replace medical care and assistance.
In fact, CE is often a great next step after being released from medical care.
Do I Need a Doctor Referral for Corrective Exercise?
No, it’s not required. CE is applicable to just about anyone, not just the injured or impaired. My clients range in age between 15 – 93 yrs. old.
But, if you’re currently working with a medical professional, I certainly recommend you ask for their approval or at least inform them of your intentions to work with a corrective exercise specialist.
As mentioned above, CE can easily work around your medical or therapeutic care and be complementary to your healing and desired fitness goals.
WHAT DOES A CORRECTIVE EXERCISE PROGRAM LOOK LIKE?
I can only speak for my own programming philosophy since each professional develops their own. My approach is to help my clients re-establish joint stability and develop proprioception(awareness of your body position and movement patterns) during exercise.
Muscle imbalances occur when one muscle or group of muscles (and its associated connective tissue) is/are stronger than its opposing muscle or muscle group.
For example, the forward head posture we mentioned above would mean the muscles that pull the head forward are stronger and tighter than the muscles that pull the head back into its correct position.
The Structure of My Corrective Exercise Program
My CE programs can be anywhere from 20-60 min.
Each of my CE sessions start with stretching and/or foam rolling to help release tight soft tissue (muscles and fascia). Then we move into light strength training for the weaker muscles (or group of muscles) to help build balance around the joint(s).
Light strength training can include body weight exercises, resistance bands, or weight training with hand weights or machines.
I use the exercise that is most appropriate for the goal at hand. I use yoga poses, Pilates exercises, calisthenics, basic weight training, etc.
Again – the focus is improving your movement and alignment, not working out really, really hard! Because honestly, if you workout really hard with poor posture and alignment, you’re not going to feel good.
Develop Movement Awareness
I end all my sessions with functional training exercises. These are exercises you use in your everyday activities (squatting, picking
items up from the floor, lunging, stepping, reaching, etc.).
The challenge for my clients in this phase is to intentionally practice and maintain proper joint alignment and movement during the exercise.
My promise to my clients is less joint pain and stiffness during their activities.
This means they can be more physically active and feel energized, confident, and safe when they go about living their day to day lives.
WHO NEEDS CORRECTIVE EXERCISE?
Anyone that struggles with balance, joint discomfort, and posture.
I work with:
- weight lifters
- people released from physical therapy
- exercise beginners
- postnatal moms
- busy working professionals
- – just about everyone!
CE programs can easily be implemented into your current exercise routine or they can be the only exercise program you follow.
THE FINAL WORD
A corrective exercise specialist focuses on helping you improve your alignment (posture and joint range of motion) and movement patterns (how you walk, run, exercise, etc.).
CE programming doesn’t replace other medical care (chiropractors, Physical Therapy, etc.) but it can complement your clinical care with doctor approval.
Anyone struggling with balance, posture, or physical discomfort can benefit from working with a CE specialist. CE programs are versatile and fit easily into other workout programs. But, they can be completed as their own workout as well.
The outcome is less joint discomfort, less muscle stiffness, more energy, and more confidence in your ability to live actively!
I want everyone to enjoy their favorite activities again – riding bikes, traveling, hiking, golfing, jogging, exercise, dance, walking, sports – whatever brings you joy!
Life is lived out there – not on the couch. Get energized, get active, and stay active!
Corrective Exercise Specialist, C.P.T.
Fit for Adventures, LLC
- Gray H. Gray’s Anatomy:The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2005
- Fowler S, Wilson JK, Sevier TL.Innovative approach for the treatment of cumulative trauma disorders. Work 2000;15:9-14.
- Julie K. Wilson, Thomas. Sevier, Robert Helfst,Eric W. Honing, and Aly Thomann. Comparison of Rehabilitation Methods in the Treatment of Patellar Tendinitis. J. Sport Rehabil. 2000;304-314.