Dr. Eric Goodman was in chiropractor school when he developed an exercise program called Foundation Training, and it wasn’t for extra credit. It was to get himself out of pain. Goodman’s back pain was so severe he was told he’d need surgery to correct it, but that wasn’t an answer he was willing to accept. Since he had watched his own mother “fix herself” after a bout with sickness, he knew fixing himself was possible. And Foundation Training was born as his way of doing it.
How it Works
Foundation Training goes about “fixing” people in pain and strengthening anyone who practices it by teaching folks how to move in the way our bodies were designed to move. A major focus is the core, which Goodman redefines as anything that connects to the pelvis, either from above or below. This muscle group includes a large batch of muscles, with some of the most notable being the hamstrings, adductor muscles and glutes. Foundation Training teaches them all to work together.
Muscles working together have 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. FT serves to emphasize such sections of so-called pulleys throughout the body, allowing people to use as many muscles as possible within a given movement. This disperses more force throughout the body, removing friction from the joints and instead placing tension on muscles created to handle such tension in the first place.
The main focus of FT is on the pulley system of muscles known as the posterior chain, which are in need of big help thanks to our modern lifestyle of constant sitting. The posterior chain includes the tissues and muscles of the lower back, the postural muscles that hug the spine, glutes, hamstrings and the anterior tibialis. The latter, which is the muscle near the shin, is the controlling muscle of posterior chain activation.
Our modern lifestyle typically involves wearing shoes with heels that are high enough to lengthen the anterior tibialis. This shortens the muscles of our posterior chain, ensuring the chain of muscles cannot function properly. Foundation Training restores the posterior chain muscles to their effective length and functioning. It 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.
Benefits for Everyone, from Athletes to Couch Potatoes
Our modern lifestyle of constant sitting is breaking down our bodies, and FT can help us combat the trend. Our body breakdown is apparent with:
- 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
Even athletes and workout fanatics can benefit from FT, as many overwork specific, “compartmentalized” areas of their bodies without incorporating full muscles groups and proper movements as a whole.
Foundation Training teaches you how to re-train your body to incorporate proper movements in all you do. The more FT you practice, the more automatic the moves become. It combats what Goodman calls the “complacent adaptation” that most of us have embraced by too fully embracing modern conveniences. We instead learn to restore our muscles to their effective length, which lets our bodies move in the manner they were designed with power, flexibility and grace.