What is Foundation Training? Exercises for pain relief and optimal performance.
Today I met with the Director and, Owner of the Figure Yoga studio in Boulder, Colorado to discuss the possibility of offering Foundation Training to all of her students who want to learn how to relieve their pain, improve their posture and better their movements during yoga classes and daily activities. People are always asking me, what is Foundation Training? The answer can be simple as much as it can be complex.
What is Foundation Training?
Foundation Training is an exercise and movement program develop by Dr. Eric Goodman, a chiropractor and personal trainer with vast experience working with top level athletes and advanced spinal injuries. Dr. Goodman began to develop Foundation Training while he was in chiropractic school. Using new principles and exercises as a treatment to cure his own lower back pain. At the time, Eric had major deterioration of his lower spine. He had lost most of the space between a couple of discs in his lumbar spine due to extreme wear and tear from years of heavy weight lifting and intense training. With the Foundation Training exercises Dr. Goodman was able to relieve his lower back pain and avoid getting surgery. More importantly, he created a program of bodyweight exercises that helps people improve their posture and move more naturally, not only reducing back pain but dozens of other chronic pains and conditions. The folowing video defines Foundation Training.
How Do The Foundation Training Exercises Work?
The Foundation Training program teaches you how to hold more dynamic and natural postures throughout your day. This allows your body to create better movements in every activity you perform, including exercise, sports, work and other activities of daily life such as running errands, cooking, cleaning, taking care of your children and more. If an activity involves movement then Foundation Training can help you perform it better by improving the way you move your body.
Foundation Training can also help you improve your performance on activities that involve sitting. Sitting is one of the most detrimental positions your body can be in. Unfortunately it is one of the most commonly used. The truth is that we spend most of our days and most of our life sitting. This causes some essential muscles to become chronically short and tight, preventing our bodies from moving correctly when we are standing.
In the long run, poor posture and improper movement patterns create wear and tear, deterioration and atrophy of key muscles and joints, forcing thousands of people to suffer from acute and chronic pain, missed days of work and the inability to perform their favorite actives. At the end of the day, many people are forced to use surgery as a treatment to reduce their pain and improve their range of motion. Sometimes these surgeries succeed in getting rid of the pain and gaining more range of movement and other times they don’t. Surgeries tend to be expensive, which is one of the main reasons why people avoid them, but they are also some of the most invasive forms of medicine. It is clear that in some cases surgeries can save people from much suffering and that they are the best aid in extreme cases. Many people can surely testify this. Yet many more should know that by taking early care of your body you can avoid pain and injury over both, the short and the long run.
Foundation Training is an example of how we can take care of our bodies and reduce our pain. Some people have had immediate results with it and others have felt better over time. Lots of people who practice it regularly swear it has brought them the relief and freedom they had been looking for.
Our modern society has seen a clear trend on the deterioration of the human body throughout the last years and many agree that this is to do with the large amount of time we spend sitting. This clearly causes issues over time. Foundation Training can help you slow down this unnatural process. The exercises will help you avoid injury by improving and strengthening your every movement. They will not only help you avoid pain while sitting but also standing and moving around. Any activity you perform will become a workout when you apply the Foundation Training principles into your life, including sitting. The key is to practice the exercises regularly so that we can stretch those short muscles, strengthen the ones that are weak and return to our natural movement patterns which are only possible when our bodies move correctly and consciously. By practicing Foundation Training we are practicing proper posture and proper movement which are then learned and repeated unconsciously. This is a process that involves learning and practicing new patterns. It can take some time and effort, but we are better off in the long run.
What Are The Foundation Training Exercises Like?
The Foundation Training program is composed of 15 exercises that move from very easy to extremely challenging. The program is meant to be useful for people all across the spectrum of athletic condition, ranging from those with severe chronic conditions and pain to top level athletes looking to move their performance to the next level. In addition to this, each individual exercise can be performed at different levels of intensity, depending on how many muscles and movements are added.
The most famous exercise is the Founder. A position in which the whole posterior chain of muscles is held isometrically while creating the highest amount of length and tension in the muscle. The position involves standing up and then pulling the hips back while keeping the vertebral spine in its most long and natural position. This allows proper extension of the lumbar spine and better support for the vertebrae above it. The arms are extended forward and up to increase the tension on the back and the pelvis and knees can be pulled further back to increase the stretch in the legs.
We can even stretch muscles in the base of our feet by lengthening all these different muscles simultaneously. The reason for this is that these muscles are connected through “chains” of myo-fascia (connective tissue that wraps around muscles and bones). More flexible and relaxed muscles can absorb more weight and generate more force. Flexible muscles are also healthier (assuming they are too flexible) and are able to perform properly for longer periods of time.
There are other forms of exercise that can serve the purpose of keeping our bodies healthy. There is walking, running, yoga, qigong and many other practices as well. Other ways to stretch your muscles can include dozens of modalities of massage such as the Swedish and deep tissue styles.
Foundation Training Strengthens Your Lower Back and “Real Core”
During the past 50 years many people have become obsessed with the idea of strengthening the core. Unfortunately there has been a misunderstanding, or miswording of what the core means. Most people, including athletes and fitness trainers, refer to the core as the “abs” or abdominal muscles. The focus on getting a flat 6-pack because it is what our modern culture finds esthetically pleasing. However, strong abdominals do little to balance the weight distribution of the body compared to the “real core” muscles which are found all around and attached to the pelvis. According to Dr. Eric Goodman, the real core includes the hamstrings, glutes and adductor muscles as well as the lower back extensors muscles, psoas and iliacus.
The Foundation Training program teaches all the real core muscles to work together through integrated chains of movement. Dr. Goodman explains that this is the way the human body is structurally designed to move, but we have lost this ability mainly due to the large amount of time we spend sitting. Sitting compresses, shortness and tightens these muscles, leading to compartmentalized movements that are less than optimal. Foundation Training lengthens, strengthens and decompresses the body leading to better posture, more fluid movements and propensity to injury and pain.
Dr. Eric Goodman, The Founder of Foundation Training
Dr. Eric Goodman is the creator of Foundation Training. He graduated from University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in Health Sciences and Physiology and earned his Doctor of Chiropractic at the Southern California University of Health Sciences.
Eric spent most of his younger years lifting weights and playing water polo. Around the age of 25 he began to suffer from chronic lower back pain and then found out that he had a blown out L4-L5 and L5-S1. He was told multiple times that he needed to get surgery, but for him, that wasn’t an option. At this time Eric was in chiropractic school and he knew that he needed to figure out a way to take care of his own body if he was going to be helping others. He spent the following 4 years obsessing about the anatomy of the human body, finding an answer to the pain he had been experiencing. Foundation Training was the solution he came up with.
Over the years, Dr. Eric Goodman has combined his experience as a strength coach, personal trainer and Chiropractor to create a simple strengthening program that facilitates the body’s natural healing ability and quickly improves degenerative movement patterns. He has been practicing this new style of training for almost a decade and has been the lead instructor at the Foundation Training certification program for the past three years, teaching hundreds of individuals how to benefit and share this wonderful exercises.
Dr. Goodman has a commemorated career as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. He served as one of the key instructors for the USA Olympic Water Polo Team that won the silver medal in Beijing in 2008. Terry Schroeder, the Head Coach of the team gave much credit to Dr. Goodman’s Foundation Training exercises and said that Eric “did an exceptional job keeping the players injury free while performing at a very high level”. Dr. Goodman has also trained dozens of top level athletes including Bryan Peterson, Lucas Euser, Dominique Vallee and Derek Fisher. You can learn more about Dr. Eric Goodman on the Foundation Training website.
Foundation Training Videos, Book and DVD Set
A year ago the Foundation Training Company released a two-disc edition of their Foundation Training DVD. This is a compliment to the already published book by Dr. Eric Goodman “Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence”. The book explains some of the most common spinal injuries and how Foundation Training helps relieve pain and improve physical performance. The DVD set is an accessory tool with videos to help people practice the exercises, get rid of pain and improve their athletic capacity. The DVD contains plenty of workouts that can help, and have helped, thousands of people move and feel better. If you are trying to learn Foundation Training the book and DVD are excellent accessories.
Where Can I Learn Foundation Training?
To many people, Santa Barbara is known as the “Mecca” of Foundation Training. This is where Dr. Goodman lived for seven years and where he developed most of the program. It is also the city where there have been the most Foundation Training certifications, which means is the place with the most Foundation Training instructors. However, Dr. Goodman has recently moved to Boulder, Colorado, and it seems that throughout the next years this will be the town with the highest Foundation Training exposure. For private classes you can contact Bruno Treves or find a trainer in your area. If there is no one in your area you can schedule an online class via Skype or FaceTime, these online classes have proven to be just as effective as those in person.
Foundation Training Testimonials and Reviews
“Foundation training is absolutely amazing. My back used to always hurt at least a bit and I thought that was normal. After my first Foundation Training workout, my back began to feel better. I have been doing Foundation Training for about 8 months now and my back is rock solid.” - Stanley D. Kurisko
“Foundation Training is targeting all my weak spots and seems to be helping my posture. I am already standing taller. Buying the DVD has been well worth it so far, less expensive than a visit to my chiropractor.” – Elle W.
“Foundation Training decompresses my discs and teaches me how to use my glutes and hamstrings to lift and move my body. It strengthens my whole core. Now I don't think that I will need another program for back pain.” - Algona
A Note by Bruno Treves: Teaching Foundation Training in Boulder, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles has been an awesome experience. For the past three years I have been lucky to teach these exercises in group and private classes at yoga studios and gyms, helping people find pain relief and a better way to move. It has been a real pleasure to introduce this program to begginers and show them how to improve their posture and learn more about their body. Many of my students had never heard about Foundation Training before my class, but they often left with a smile on their face, feeling taller and looking forward to another class. If you are interested in attending one of my group or private classes you can contact me.