By Dr. Eric Goodman
If you are reading this, congratulations, you made it. You have lived through the entire year of 2012, and avoided yet another potential apocalypse. What I find most fascinating about all of the end-of-the-world hype we saw in the days leading up to December 21, 2012, is how easily we humans are able to create complex and dire explanations for things that more often than not end up following very basic principles.
I see this pattern every day in my work with athletes and clients who are seeking to improve performance or reduce pain. Rather than focusing on building up a solid foundation and layering from there, they sometimes become derailed by complex strategies, “state of the art” procedures, or by following a program that promises amazing results while bypassing all natural laws of ethics and physics.
New Year’s and through the month of January is another time where this pattern is illuminated. Every year, millions of people make very specific commitments to improve a variety of aspects of their lives, and studies show that over 90% give up their New Year’s resolutions within the first 30 days. While there are many reasons for this, the bottom line is that the complexities of accomplishing their goals end up overwhelming their ability to succeed. The sad thing is that most of those complexities are easily manageable through sound and simple strategies that properly align motivation, education, and capabilities as simply as possible.
So, in the spirit of the “new” Mayan calendar (smiley face), let’s take advantage of the “new” year and try a “new” approach, one that will start by going back to the basics and building the right “foundation” for physical success
Foundation Training for the New Year!
For the next 30 days, we will give you clean and simple instruction that will teach your body exactly how to move (one blog post a week for the next 4 weeks). When your body learns how to move as intended, your posture dramatically changes, exercise becomes significantly more effective, and you will feel better than you’ve ever thought possible. For a brief overview of our philosophy, feel free to watch my Ted talk below.
Learning to move well is easier for some than others, but it’s worthwhile for everybody. I have seen the positive effects of this on everyone from world class athletes to de-conditioned couch potatoes. By focusing on building a strong Foundation before moving further in exercise, you will be giving yourself a huge advantage, particularly if you are experiencing chronic back, knee, and/or hip pain. So, this time we’re going to start the New Year off right… we’re getting back to the basics!
Whether you want to relieve pain or improve performance, all I’m asking for is 10 to 15 minutes of your day for the next 30 days to developing the basic Foundation Training skill set. By watching the video below, you will learn to teach your body to change its current pattern of imbalance. A pattern it has conformed to over many years of sitting down far too often, a pattern which can be changed quickly with these specific exercises. We’ve intentionally kept this short, sweet and as basic as possible.
I have had the personal joy of constantly improving my physical life by adhering to mastering the basics of movement before progressing. Foundation Training develops long term sustainable strength to benefit every single aspect of your physical life. Enjoy beginning the process and make sure you check back next week for Part 2.
Week 1: The Founder & The Adductor Assisted Back Extensions
These exercises work best when repeated often. The nature of changing patterns is that repetition is integral for success. Should I repeat myself?
A few simple ways to use these exercises:
For the beginner or the injured, rigid or timid:
3 Founders and 3 Adductor Assisted Back Extensions per day holding each pose for a minimum of 15 seconds at the most strenuous position you can currently find.
For the fitness enthusiast:
Add 3-5 Founder sequences to the beginning of your daily practice to engage new and exciting muscle chains.
End your practice with 2-4 Adductor Assisted Back Extensions.
As a warm up for a workout:
3-5 repetitions of each exercise, holding the most challenging part of the pose for 15-30 seconds each repetition.
Cool down after the workout with 2 slow Founders with deep breaths.
For the Desk Jockeys out there:
Stand up and do 1 Founder as taught in the video every hour or two throughout the day. Aim for 5-10 Founders total and I bet you will feel better, more productive and more athletic than you have in quite some time.
Before bed each night this week do 3 reps of the Adductor Assisted Back Extension.
2 exercises, repeated often, can improve much more than you currently realize.