Before we can go any further, before I share with you what it is I know that you may find useful, I must first clarify and define what it is exactly that I know. What I spend the majority of my day doing is using exercise therapeutically to heal, or functionally to improve performance. Both of these are achieved through the application of corrective exercise, exercise engaged with the intention of improving, or ‘correcting’ neuromuscular patterns and processes, i.e. motor pattern sequence correction and optimization. In a therapeutic setting it is often applied with the aim of mitigating the accumulated effects of a Western lifestyle on our physical selves. Sitting is the new smoking. Our day to day movement patterns and habits are not what the body craves to function optimally, instead their convenient and sedentary nature have become the antithesis of our physical potential.
Most people are familiar with the use of exercise to improve performance in sport or general strength, functional training, or weight-loss and health. Not many people are aware of the potential of exercise to rewire the way our bodies intrinsically orchestrate movement, the conduction of the symphony of muscular contractions by the brain and nervous system, the composer of the movement. The complexity and capability of this system of systems allows for adaptation and compensation in times of need, with the potential to bring very similar movements together in very different ways. A common problem of the modern lifestyle, due to changes in our physical environment and demands, is that we develop non-ideal, often detrimental motor patterns and deficiencies. It is the first goal of corrective exercise to correct these changes, then it aims to optimize.
Since very few of us escape this phenomenon, it is crucial that we all take advantage of these elements of physical exercise. Unfortunately most of this is usually skipped, and on top of faulty movement patterns we simply apply more work, intensity, load, fatigue etc. It should be obvious that this will only amplify any damage being caused by our movement faults. This is my call to you, to prioritize the quality of your movements over the intensity or load or reps, to have the humility to accept where you actually are in your movement journey and to have the patience to work intelligently. This is to us doing things properly!