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Corrective Exercise – The Best Rehab Technique You’re Not Using

It’s confusing when you’re in pain or have an injury. We get it, you just want rid and to be back playing freely and fully again! But where do you start?

There’s so many options these days with chiropractors, osteopaths, drugs, physio, massage, and acupuncture. Good approaches that can have hugely positive effects, especially in acute phases of pain and rehab BUT…

Have you felt relying on someone or something to make it better doesn’t really get you there?

Do you find you’re always going back to get ‘treated again’?

How much better would it be if you had techniques you can use anywhere and anytime to reduce and heal your own pain that have far reaching benefits?

So why is it that someone “rubbing it better” doesn’t always work? The common theme of all the above treatments is that they’re passive – relying on someone or something to rub or make it better. Passive rehab typically causes a peripheral reflex response at the spinal level, creating a transient motor event. Put simply you feel good for a while but as the days goes on (sometimes as little as an hour) you get the feeling that perhaps not much has changed. Ever walked out from a massage feeling wonderful to only stiffen up and feel achy again by the evening? That’s the epitome of a transient motor event!

With passive treatment there’s minimal self-learning or taking responsibility going forward and that’s a major issue in the long run! The likelihood of passive approaches solving your pain alone is minimal.

What you seek is more active!


Exercise & movement, the active approach to rehab!

Corrective exercise and stretching, works on a central processing level. It effects and engages your motor cortex (the cool part of your brain) rather than just causing a peripheral reflex. Put simply engaging in corrective exercise means there’s a learning phase connecting brain and body to create, sense and remember changes, which with practice stick around. This tends to have far reaching, beneficial effects compared to the passive counterparts. Your body is more switched on than you realise!

This isn’t about knocking approaches. On the contrary they all have a place and at aps we consistently work with professionals in most of them. We even use passive techniques with our own clients. However we highly encourage an active rehab approach combined with passive treatments if needed (not the other way around and especially not passive treatment by itself).

The key goal of corrective exercise is to bring consciousness to movement, adapting and retraining how you move to ultimately create more effective, biomechanically friendly, autonomous movement. But it gets even better, the benefits transcend physiology. With a little guidance and understanding you realise ‘I can make MYSELF better’. You realise, in the words of He-man. ‘I have the POWER!’ Seriously empowering stuff!

Give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish …

Corrective exercise quintessentially requires and therefore create a sense of:

  • Learning – you literally learn how to feel and move your body better developing new skills
  • Competence – knowing you’re getting stronger increases your confidence to take on life outside the gym, e.g. pain bending over to deadlifting half your bodyweight with relative comfort
  • Accomplishment – Moving out of pain, hitting and surpassing tangible physical goals reaffirms that your taking positive steps
  • Responsibility – Corrective exercise is yours to do and reap the benefits or not do and usually remain in your dysfunction. It’s a strong learning experience either way

YOU learn, YOU play, YOU practice, and YOU reap all the benefits!

Using active rehab and taking responsibility is a great idea, easily said but can certainly can be challenging to put into practice. We encourage:

  • Giving it time – Learning a new movement skill roughly takes 300-500 conscious repetitions. Retraining old movements could be more like 3000 reps, patience is key.
  • Seeking guidance – Finding a good exercise coach or trainer with a strong understanding of anatomy, corrective exercise, programme design and pain science can be invaluable, especially in the early stages.
  • Coupling it with manual practices when needed, especially in acute phases
  • Being kind to yourself – The path is endlessly fulfilling but often full of emotions and unexpected turnings both tough and pleasant. A little kindness goes a long way.

Other active approaches that are really rewarding to explore are nutrition, rest habits and headspace.

So good luck in your quest taking back control of your own pain and remember we’re always here to help if you need it!

Live Healthy,

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