I have been an athletic trainer and/or a personal trainer for 21 years. Which means, I have racked up my share of nicknames. However, this past month, I received two unusual nicknames that made me realize the unique skill set that I have for correcting dysfunctional movement, as well as the passion I have for guiding people through a progression of individualized exercises that ultimately lead them to their goals. Whether it be pain relief, increased performance, or even weight loss.
So here are the quick stories that ultimately lead to this article. As I walked into our small foam rolling/warm-up room at State of Fitness my client said, “Well good morning Captain Corrective.” I instantly flashed a great big smile because I thought that was brilliant and witty. I loved it! I then looked him in the eye as he was working out gluteal trigger points with the ever-popular lacrosse ball, and said, “That’s Colonel Corrective to you.” The second nickname came from an unsuspecting new client. While working out on his own, I noticed a dysfunctional movement pattern that had crept into a particular exercise since our last session. After neutralizing the situation (yes….the military reference was intentional), he said to me with a fun smile and giggle, “You are like a corrections officer. You have eyes everywhere. I am not going to get away with anything am I?”
Beyond the fun of the interactions, I was struck by the fact how the two nicknames simultaneously gave me a positive and negative vibe. While I loved the fact that they recognized my attention to detail and could remember that one of our primary objectives was to correct dysfunctional movement patterns, I couldn’t help but feel the undeniable sense of penance they had in regards to the corrective process.
While corrective exercises are far less glamorous than doing Olympic lifts, they are a necessary foundational step in the progression of any workout regimen and/or rehabilitative process. Learning and executing the appropriate corrective exercises can vastly reduce the risk of overuse injury, help you overcome a current injury, and most definitely take your performance and efficiency of movement to a new level. A corrective exercise is given to correct a specific dysfunctional movement. Just by their very nature, corrective exercises are mentally very challenging because it is in the brain that we actually learn the new movement pattern. And because repetition in required in order to learn the correct movement pattern, it can also seem dull. Trust me…I get it. This is where I could say suck it up, but I would rather find a way to encourage and motivate you to practice your corrective exercises with diligence. To combat some of the drudgery, I like to have clients do an appropriate strength training session following their corrective exercises. Not only does this build upon the corrective process, but it keeps you mentally more upbeat and positive.
I recently did a movement assessment on Scott Abramouski, one of our own personal trainers at State of Fitness who had been suffering from a chronic groin issue. As a strong, very well conditioned 24-year old he was surprised to see the level of dysfunction he had in his own body. Upon convincing him of the importance of lowering the intensity for a bit to allow his body to correct itself, he found a whole new appreciation for the power of the corrective exercise process. He stayed focused on consistency, frequency, and technique of each exercise while keeping his ultimate goal in mind. He is now getting back to his high intensity training void of groin pain and is experiencing a higher level of efficiency in his movements.
“I truly believed I’d never get injured until I suffered a severe groin injury, putting me out of the usual intense training schedule for quite some time. Working with Rebecca, we spotted my issues and compiled a list of corrective exercises. Ever since performing these corrective exercises regularly, I have become much more efficient with my movements, my joints thank me daily, and I have since moved along injury free!” -Scott Abramouski
I realize the very nature of corrective exercises can be mentally challenging. But again, they need to be. The brain is where you are going to correct the dysfunctional pattern and learn proper movement. Mental focus is paramount to the success of making the correction. So use that brain power to set yourself up for success.
I will also let you in on a tiny secret….I have yet to met an individual that didn’t have at least one dysfunctional movement pattern. And it may surprise you to know that the some of the most “dysfunctional” people I train are actually professional athletes. And when they unleash the power of corrective exercise followed by their strength and conditioning work, they have all reached new heights. And so will you!
My life’s work will continue to be correcting dysfunctional movement patterns of those suffering from injury or recovering from surgery, golfers seeking a solution to obtain the swing of their dreams, and those athletes looking to reach the a new level of injury prevention and performance. And while I did get a kick out of the creativity of being called a corrections officer and Captain Corrective…if it’s all the same…It’s Colonel Corrective to you.