What Is “Foundation Training?”


What Is “Foundation Training?”

What I love about writing assignments is that they give me the opportunity to expand the knowledge base and share with others. This is the case with Foundation Training (FT), an exercise format focused on safely stretching the back muscles while strengthening the core. This format was developed by Dr. Eric Goodman, a chiropractor, in order to reduce his own severe back pains. He notes that our modern lifestyle of constant sitting is breaking down our bodies, and FT can help us combat the trend. The following are indications of how sitting breaks our bodies downs.

  • Chronic back pain and other pain, repetitive stress injuries
  • Poor posture
  • The shortening of the abdomen and front of the body
  • Shortening of the hip flexors
  • The forward positioning of the shoulders and head
  • Improper breathing in a slumped-forward position
  • Improper and “angry” bending at the spine, instead of bending at the hips as our bodies were designed.

In my observations, the format appears to be a version of tai chi meets Pilates, with dynamically performed standing stretches and the core constantly engaged. Dr. Goodman notes that lunge stretches lengthen the front of your body while supporting your spine in extension and working balance to offset these breakdowns.


Where I’ve always understood the core to be comprised of muscles from the rib cage down to the pelvic bone, that support the spine, Dr. Goodman also includes the hamstrings, adductor (inner thigh) muscles and glutes. Foundation Training trains them all to work together to provide much more strength and stability than a single muscle working on its own, the same way a pulley system becomes stronger with each pulley added. This process stabilizes the pelvis through anchoring of the adductor muscles and uses muscular breathing techniques to decompress the spine. FT uses simple tension exercises that rely on the physics of the body rather than outside equipment. You don’t even wear shoes when practicing FT, as you want to aim for the most natural environment as possible. A workout on the sand is ideal, with your toes gripping and grabbing the grains.


Another difference I note between Pilates and FT is that in these dynamic stretches, he stresses using as many muscles as possible with in a given movement to disperse force throughout the body to focus tension on muscles and way from joints. In Pilates there is a lot of focus on isolations, moving one part of the body while using the power of core to keep everything else in controlled stillness.


Since the format’s origin came from a means to reduce back pain, the question is does FT really help. These simple and transformative exercises are designed to naturally heal back pain and the program claims that relief begins immediately. His site lists numerous testimonials on how the method has helped back pain sufferers.


“I had to stop jogging due to serious back and hip pain…Following the basic routine in the book by itself already just lifts all my pain “


“I suffered an L-5 compression fracture 6 months ago and have not been able to find a work out that helps with my back pain until now….I have noticed such an incredible difference in how I feel and operate. I feel more mobile, more flexible, and just overall better after using this! Thank you so much! ….”


For my own test, I had my son, who suffers from lower back pain from running track, try just a few exercises and he said he could feel some improvement in his ham strings and lower back.


In addition to reducing or eliminating pain, the program also claims to improve athletic performance. Dr. Goodman notes that by integrating short duration FT workouts into a routine, one will get more impact out of every movement, and he claims they’ve helped professional athletes in virtually every sport reach new levels of endurance, stamina, and strength.


Foundation Training has a basis in the kinetic body chain or idea that joints and segments have an effect on one another during movement — when one is in motion, it creates a chain of events that affects the movement of neighboring joints and segments, so it makes sense that these exercises can accomplish its claim to reduce pain and other issues associated with poor body alignment, and improve athletic performance. Check out his TedX talk and the website for more information. My conclusion is that if you’re in pain and all else has failed, FT is worth a try.


Benita Perkins

Benita Perkins – is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.

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