I'm enjoying the National Academy of Sports Medicine's certification program in Corrective Exercise. I've been certified in Pilates for years and taught some various fitness modalities, but I love the NASM's science-based approach. Everything they teach, from assessment protocols to exercise technique, is backed up by research studies in areas like physical therapy and athletic performance.
There are four steps in the NASM's "Corrective Exercise Continuum" model. You can use them in the gym, ideally supervised by a trainer who has assessed your posture and mobility. Because the goal is to correct imbalances in order to move better, protect joints, and prevent pain. Starting with assessment is key.
This model also integrates into neuromuscular therapy treatment in my practice.
1. Inhibit - The focus is on self myofascial release (SMF) with foam rollers, tennis balls, etc. In the treatment room: manual trigger point therapy, muscular therapy.
2. Lengthen - Specific, isolated stretching. May be static, or neuromuscular (muscle energy techniques such as contract/relax and reciprocal inhibition). In the treatment room: assisted stretching, both passive and MET.
3. Activate - Isolated movement for specific areas of weakness. Resistance is bodyweight, bands or light weights. Reps are high, usually two sets. Tempo is slow and controlled, with focus on the eccentric phase of each rep. Lots of fun science behind the benefits of eccentric exercise. In the treatment room I use specific neuromuscular therapy techniques to engage muscles while normalizing muscle tone.
4. Integrate - Compound movements starting with bodyweight, and progressing to weights or other resistance, sometimes with a balance or plyometric element. In my practice I usually give clients one simple postural exercise to add to their current routine. As time progresses I'll be designing mobility workouts for my clients to follow outside the treatment room.
Reach out with any questions, if you want to learn more.
Nicole Urell is a certified Neuromuscular Therapist in Belmont, MA.