By: Daniel Lord DC
Naturally healing back pain has been at the core of what I do and am passionate about. Specifically, teaching people what they need to do to take care of their backs and prevent pain for the long term. No one wants to be chained to their providers, use pain medication or be dependent on passive therapies. You absolutely want to be the CEO of your health and understand how to live pain free. One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. Kelly Starrett and he is correct, “every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.”
Enter Foundation Training. I first met the founder Dr. Eric Goodman in 2010 when he taught a course to providers at Chiro-Medical Group in San Francisco. His messages I had heard before many times: “use the hips to hinge, pay special attention to head/neck posture, develop core stability and strength through the posterior chain.” Ok great…but how is the Foundation Training approach special? Is Foundation Training really effective?
As soon as Dr. Goodman began showing us his Foundation exercises I realized something special was going on. Hello core power moves…no pilates or yoga I’ve experienced has ever worked my deep postural muscles like this. These are the same muscles that become weak with sitting and working on computers. The Foundation movements felt like I was doing serious work and my back actually felt noticeably loose and mobile afterwords. Doing all this hip hinging and posterior chain training reminded me that people in a modern culture never move quite like this.
In graduate school I participated in a clinic abroad outreach trip – I made some observations I’ll never forget. I was in Madagascar traveling to coastal villages with a team of chiropractors and medical doctors. We set up free clinics and treated hundreds of patients over the weeks we were there. To my surprise very few people had back pain. Unlike developed countries most of the injuries I was treating were from trauma and not from sitting, repetitive stress or obesity. How could people that did manual labor all day have no back pain?
The answer is that they moved with better organization than we do. They know how to hinge at their hips, use their big strong posterior muscles and keep their spine straight. Good functional movement patterns allow workers to protect their back from injury even during long hours of hard labor. Foundation Training uses these same principles – it is nothing new. In fact, this is how we evolved to move. Clearly we were not meant to sit all day and let gravity pull on us until we cave in.
Daniel Kalish DC founder of the Kalish Institute explains Foundation Training best; “breaking poor postural movement patterns is virtually impossible using most all of the existing systems. Yoga increases flexibility and strength, weight training increases muscle strength, the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais make us aware of poor movement patterns, but Dr. Goodman has developed the unthinkable – one single set of exercises that quickly, almost miraculously create profound muscle strength and flexibility at the same time in just the areas we are weakest and tightest from our modern lifestyle habits.”
Foundation now serves as the backbone of my home exercise approach with patients as well as with postural exercises I teach during ergonomic workshops. It’s primary movement is a huge hip hinge that nails the posterior chain muscles (spinal erectors, gluteals, hamstrings, calf and bottom of feet). Learning how to use your body this way not only protects your spine, it helps you move more confidently and become a better athlete.
We all need to move better whether you are running a marathon or lifting carry-on luggage overhead. This type of training is for everyone who lives in our modern sedentary lifestyle.
If you are trying to find the best way to strengthen your back I highly recommend using Foundation Training. Dr. Goodman did not develop some new fringe idea with false promises. This is an evidence-based, functional approach to reverse the negative effects of sitting.