Does Corrective Exercise belong in the fitness world? YES!

This week we have another guest blog by my brother from another mother, Jeff Buxton, MS, NASM-PES, FMS, ACE-CPT.  Knowing Jeff since 2002 from our days at PSU, he is a highly effective fitness and wellness professional, an emotionally intelligent leader, and an insightful resource for all health and wellness professionals he collaborates with. With an emphasis on positive short- and long-term outcomes with his clients and students (he is also a college professor and tennis coach), as well as a desire to achieve constant personal and interpersonal improvement, I firmly believe Jeff is one of the best-kept secrets in the world of Fitness.

Take it away, Jeff…

“Does Corrective Exercise belong in the fitness world? I believe it does. In fact, I believe it should. In this article I will attempt to simplify the concept of corrective exercise and in doing so hopefully release some of the fear of applying corrective exercise in your own line of work.

No matter what your actual title is, if you work in the fitness industry you deal with movement. If you allow poor movements to prevail with your clients, they will at best experience poor results. At worst they will get injured. As fitness professionals and coaches, I believe we must always keep in mind that our primary goal is not to “kill” our client. Our mindset should be one of helping our clients move better first, and then to move more. Let’s be real – when clients get injured doing what we prescribed, it is bad for business!

This mindset and approach can be incredibly challenging, especially when you have a client who does not move well at all and ultimately needs to move more to establish a healthy weight. This becomes even more challenging when this client wants results fast and does not understand the concept of moving better first (as most do!). However, a solid understanding of corrective exercise and its application can help greatly.

Many fitness professionals shy away from corrective exercise because it seems too complicated or simply outside of their scope of practice. But attaining a good grasp on what corrective exercise is and how to apply it will help release your fear, as well as provide you with better ammunition when discussing it with your clients. This could lead to greater “buy-in” from your clients, and ultimately better and quicker results – which is great for business!

Before I attempt to bring some clarity to this often over-complicated concept, let me encourage you to check out the following Fitness Professionals who, in my mind are the best at integrating fitness and corrective exercise.
1. Gray Cook – incredibly smart hillbilly from Virginia with a knack for simplifying movement and making movement better quickly
2. Gary Gray – the other “Gray”…incredibly intelligent PT with an eye for quality of movement and a unique understanding of how our body really functions
3. Mike Boyle – legendary strength and conditioning coach teaching athletes to move better before they move more
4. Alwyn Cosgrove – fat/weight loss guru and program design expert who has mastered the art and skill of blending corrective exercise and conditioning

There are many more I could list, but I believe these are the guys you should start with as you begin to develop a greater understanding of corrective exercise and its application.

So what exactly is corrective exercise? Keeping things very simple, corrective exercise is nothing more than strategies used to help people (including yourself) move better. That’s it! At its simplest and purest application, the corrective exercise process involves keen observation and assessment, followed by a corrective strategy, and completed with an analysis (through observation) of whether the strategy worked or not. It can be as simple as seeing a client’s knees cave while squatting, telling them not to let that happen, and then observing if your cue worked!

You see, corrective exercise is really a mindset that begins with a commitment to not “kill” your client, by helping them move better first. It is embodied in not only how you program, but how you cue and how you observe and assess.

Corrective exercise is not going away. More and more clients will come who need to move better, otherwise they will get hurt. More and more clients will come who are looking for the “one-stop shop.” Put all fear aside and begin your journey of greater understanding of corrective exercise and how to implement it. Begin your journey with the simple mindset of making movement better.

In future posts we will identify and examine different corrective exercise techniques and discuss how you can implement these into your fitness programs. Stay tuned! For now, remember… move’em better, move’em more, and keep’em moving!”

Jeff can be reached at  

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