Too often, people assume stability is strength, and that’s not necessarily the case. A lot of times stability is just being able to put your body in the right position to demonstrate strength. So being able to control motion is a lot different than being able to produce it.
IFAST’s Mike Robertson breaks down the what’s, why’s, and how’s to corrective exercises and how they fit into his programming. This presentation starts with Mike sharing with us his definition of corrective exercises which is: “Corrective Exercise is a holistic approach where an assessment is used to determine specific weaknesses and/or limitations of the athlete. This assessment drives the programming process, where a systematic and progressive approach is used to reduce the likelihood of injury and improve performance.” Within this definition Mike has highlighted specific words that drive his training program. This definition brings Mike to discuss a continuum. The continuum runs from injured to performance, but where Mike says the corrective work can be most effective, it’s with people who have plateaued.
Corrective exercise has three big rocks, those rocks are: mobility, stability, and strength. Mobility is the base of Mike’s pyramid due to the fact that when you improve mobility, your stability tends to improve. So, once you have enough mobility, Mike works on stability with his athletes, and that leads to traditional strength work.
Mobility, the bottom of the pyramid, is then defined versus flexibility. Two terms that are commonly confused. Mike shares a few examples of mobility work he’s done in the past with specific individuals including Dave Tate, and an aspiring pro strong man. The joint by joint approach is what drove those evaluations, and Mike breaks down what that is, how he looks at it, and how to improve/train it. The three that he covers the most in depth are the ankle, hip, thoracic spine, and shoulder.
Once you have the mobility you need to be able to own those positions, so training stability follows. Mike gives examples of specific clients who had stability issues. He discusses how those issues were problematic in performance and training, and what that led to in training. This includes differentiating between active and passive stability, and how the diaphragm plays a huge role in setting up the athlete to improve stability. The joints that are supposed to be stable are touched up next. These include: the foot, knee, lumbar spine, and scapulae. He also touches upon the unilateral/bilateral war and where he sees both of these types of exercises.
The third level in the pyramid is strength, and Mike breaks down what strength training means to him and how it ties mobility and stability together. The whole idea is that once you move well we, as coaches, need to load the athletes and focus on getting stronger.
Mike finishes off with a Q and A with questions including what are his evaluations, what “phases” look like in his programming when it comes to corrective exercises, and challenges with the sports culture when it comes to their preparation and “fixing” issues.