You often hear about the importance of strengthening your core. This is so true and important, but the focus for how to do it, has been misleading.
Many people are told that they have back pain because of weak abdominal muscles. In fact, developing strong abdominal muscles and other frontal core muscles more than developing your posterior core may actually make you more prone to back injuries. This is because the abdominal muscles do little to contribute to the structural stability of the body nor do they have a big role in facilitating proper movement.
Foundation training, developed by Dr Eric Goodman redefines the core to strengthen. The focus is on the posterior chain of muscles. This includes your hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae muscles (the long muscles along your spine) and adductor muscles. The exercises teach all those muscles to work together through integrated chains of movement, which is how you’re structurally designed to move, as opposed to compartmentalized movements like crunches, Dr Goodman shares.
One of the exercises, the Founder, takes the entire posterior chain of muscles and pulls them together. The exercises add as many muscles into a given movement as possible, which disperses more force throughout the body, taking friction away from your joints and putting that tension into your muscles.
The exercises especially help people who are sitting all day, driving long periods, looking down at cell phones long periods and sitting on the couch watching tv. In these positions the body becomes flexion dominant, with the front of the body shortening. This leads to poor posture, spinal injuries, shortening of the abdomen, shortening of the hip flexors, forward position of the head, and rolled forward shoulders. Breathing also becomes limited in this slumped forward posture, not allowing for full oxygenation of the body.
The spine can easily become subluxated or misaligned in this state. As chiropractors we notice with the dominance of flat screen devices and work habits, constant sitting is becoming like the new “smoking.” As a supplement to corrective chiropractic care, we often prescribe Foundation type exercises and postures, strengthening the posterior chain, to retrain the body to move how it was designed to, with grace, flexibility and power.
Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence, by Eric Goodman, Peter Park