I Hate Corrective Exercise

Corrective ExerciseYou heard it here first…

…Mike Robertson hates corrective exercise.

Okay, maybe that’s a slight embellishment – but I do hate the term “corrective exercise.”

Allow me to take you on a brief tour down memory lane, and then we’ll take about where RTS is going in the coming months and years.

The Start of Corrective Exercise

I got my start in corrective exercise in late 2002.

Working in a chiropractic rehab facility, I was inundated with patients suffering from back, knee and shoulder pain on a daily basis.

I learned a ton in the 3 years that I worked there, and I’d like to think I helped quite a few people lead and happier and healthier life.

But what most people forget about is where I started.

When I first got into this amazing industry of ours, my goal was to work with athletes.

I loved helping people get bigger, stronger and faster.

I was an athlete myself, and I knew about the power of strength training first hand.

I could tell that when I was stronger I could jump higher, rain J’s from anywhere in the gym, and could damn near dunk even though I am only 5’10”.

And along those same lines, I loved the sport of powerlifting as well.

Having played team sports my whole life, powerlifting was fun and unique because it gave me a competitive outlet to pursue my strength-training goals.

Needless to say, I was hooked.

The “Corrective” Transition

So how did I end up getting labeled as a corrective exercise guy?

Or more importantly, why did I choose to go down that path?

Easy – I felt it was necessary at the time.

I felt that I was filling a role that was unique.

Before Charlie Weingroff came in and said that Training=Rehab, and Rehab=Training, there was this massive chasm between “Rehab” and “Performance.”

At least to my knowledge, no one was trying to fill in that gray area.

And let’s be honest – there are tons of people out there that don’t need physical therapy, yet aren’t ready to hit the gym full steam ahead without limitations.

But since that time the industry has changed immensely.

We have super smart rehab professionals out there like Charlie Weingroff, Bill Hartman and the like who understand both sides of the spectrum, and who are far more qualified to give advice to those who lean more towards the “rehab” side of the spectrum.

And furthermore, I feel as though it’s time for me to get back to my roots.

Back to what I was originally passionate about in the first place.

My goal is simple: To help people getting lean, strong and athletic.

This was starting to manifest back in December when Eric Oetter, Bill and I traveled to a Postural Restoration course in Nebraska.

The course was mind-blowing, like a Ph.D.-level class in biomechanics.

Ron Hruska (the creator of PRI) was talking about how fixing a gentleman’s vision had reduced his back and hip pain.

Think about that for a second – a man’s vision was driving his back and hip pain!

But while I was sitting there trying to wrap my skull around this thought, another thought popped into my head…

…this is the furthest I want to go down the “corrective exercise” path.

If someone’s vision is driving their back issues, I have no business working with them.

Especially when I can simply refer them to a guy like Bill Hartman!

That doesn’t mean I won’t continue filling in the gaps of my anatomy or “corrective” skills, but it does mean I have no need or desire to push further into the realm of “rehab,” when I can spend more time focusing on the “training” side of the equation.

The Future of RTS

So what does all this mean for RTS?

Does this mean I’m done talking about corrective exercise?

That I’m through learning about anatomy?

Or that all my posts from this day forward are going to talk about chasing the pump and building massive arms?

Not so much.

But what you may notice is a different tone or feel with regards to how I go about things.

If nothing else, the mindset and focus is going to shift.

Instead of looking at things through the lens of not getting injured, we’re going to look at it through the lens of how proper movement and function can help you perform at the highest level.

Because not surprisingly, if you’re injured, you’re not going to perform at a high level!

In fact, at first glance, it may not appear all that different at all.

I may not hate corrective exercise, but I think the term de-values much of what we try to do in the gym.

The goal is simple: Get lean, strong and athletic.

And if that’s you goal,  I think you’re going to enjoy the RTS ride.

All the best

MR

14 Comments

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  1. Love it!!! Recently I’ve felt corrective exercise was turning into this monster that took more time than actual training.

    So lean, strong, athletic… Is bigger going to be in there too, for those of us who want/need to put on some size?

  2. Love it, as I can empathize. I am in a situation where within my gym I have been labeled the same thing, largely because my passion to learn more has led me to be a little more versed in proper movement and function than my coworkers. Which has led to anyone with restrictions or injury history being put in front of me as opposed to other trainers. I love helping people move and feel better, it’s incredibly rewarding, because these individuals are so grateful, and often it was a bit more of a puzzle to solve than the typical client. I think it is something about being pinned/termed as “this” guy that can make you want to shout out “hey I am pretty good at helping people get stronger, lose fat and get fit too”.
    Looking forward to your new direction

    • Daniel – I think we’re in the same boat. I’m no less passionate about helping people get out of pain, move or feel better.

      I just want people to know that I’m more than a one-trick pony 🙂

      MR

  3. I don’t think you’ve become a “corrective exercise” guru. I honestly think you’ve just made personal training and strength and conditioning far more professional, effective and synonymous with the allied health industry. In a clinical setting a frustrating situation arises when you facilitate a moderate level of change and then see to gain some guidance into their fitness they seek the advice of a personal trainer with a weekend course and terrible understanding of the body and movement. As a result the all the preliminary work is lost with a poor exercise program with terrible supervision. I’m a strength and cond coach and a soon to be post grad sports med professional and the best thing I learnt from a mentor was that an un injured athlete is a happy athlete. Keep up the good work

  4. Mike,

    I really think you are headed in the right direction. I recently started StrongLifts and went from 0 on the DL and squat to 315#s. In the process, I injured my lower back due to poor form and ego. Not being able to lift now, I wish I would have sought out a physical assessment and form check before going so heavy on my lifts. Not lifting at a gym, (home gym) I was on my own and had very little experience with strength training. Although I researched and read a lot, my lack of experience made me fail to realize the importance of good form and flexibility/mobility. Lifting alone, another thing that I did not due that I think is a must for anyone lifting alone is video my lifts to evaluate my form. After watching your videos I determined I have a severe anterior tilt to my pelvis. I have started a program to strengthen my core, obliques and my posterior chain muscles so that when I get back to lifting I will have better mobility to execute the lifts safely. I also have been using your broomstick to ensure a neutral spine by securing it to my back with a bungy around my waist. This provides proprioceptive feed back during the lifts. I came across your site from an interview your did with Mehdi from StrongLifts. Thanks for all you do and please keep your focus. With the popularity of strength training skyrocketing your vision and approach is definitely needed.

  5. HI, Mike I do it all time , mobility drills Really Help like the one on pec mobility with pvc pipe , ever since i started doing it , it made a big difference, I have read lots of stuff on warm-up drills, I m working new ones to expand, the article was really good, and learned lots

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