corrective exercise program Denver

Corrective Exercise

What is Corrective Exercise?


Corrective Exercise (CE) utilizes movements often employed in an exercise routine to achieve a different goal. Rather than testing the body’s limits to increase fitness and performance, corrective exercise employs compression, movement, stretching and resistance to improve neuromuscular control.  The result is to focus activity on improving range of motion, improving balance, and decreasing pain.


Corrective Exercise (CE) has multiple stages to recover from injury and normalize the functioning of the musculoskeletal system.


  • 1st stage: Rest and Compression – this stage is for someone who is in severe and/or chronic pain.  Breathing techniques and self-myofascial release using tools (foam rollers, balls, bands) are employed to decrease tension and pain in the myofascial tissues and increase range of motion.
  • 2nd stage: Lengthening – this stage is for someone who may have minimal amounts of pain, but perhaps feel tension or limited range of motion still in their movements.  Lengthening the myofascial tissue employs passive and dynamic forms of stretching muscle tissue, along with myofascial release techniques from massage to lengthen connective tissues.
  • 3rd stage: Isolated Strengthening – this stage is for someone who has minimal to moderate levels of discomfort or tension in an area, perhaps some weakness, but have normal range of motion.  Isolated strengthening with resistance (bands, dumbell, etc) to target a specific area helps re-educate the neuromuscular system to produce normal functioning in the muscle.  A normal muscle is not noticed!
  • 4th stage: Integrated Movement – the final stage is for people who no longer have anything but minimal amounts of discomfort in an area and can achieve a normal range of motion with resistance. This stage is to elevate an area that has been in pain or decreased performance back into the normal function the area performs when integrated into a broader, more dynamic movement.


Case Study: A person has been trying to get back into shape for the summer hiking season, but notices when doing a cardio workout that the right hip is tight, can’t stretch as far as the left hip, and finds it hard to get comfortable that night to sleep because it feels sore.  This person can utilize a CE program by a) using a tennis ball/foam roller to compress the area while breathing deeply to relieve trigger point and fascial tension, b) repeat a hip stretch along with compressions until the range of motion improves with less discomfort, c) perform a hip exercise to isolate the glute muscles with resistance from a band, d) use an integrated movement (side stepping at an increasing pace) to test the hip’s performance until the movement feels smooth and comfortable.


Case Study: A person recovered from a car accident a couple years ago, generally feels better, but has noticed that the neck will still hurt after exercise or after traveling for any duration.  This person can utilize a CE program by a) using a tool to compress into the musculature of the upper back, shoulders and neck (while deeply breathing) until tender pts are less sensitive, b) lengthening the neck with a series of stretches, c) do chin tucks and use a resistance band to exercise lateral movement of the head, and d) utilize a movement (getting up off the floor, abdominal exercise into a planck or bridge) to test the ability of the neck to move with the upper body without pain.



The Corrective Exercise Weekly Class


Jonathan Hebert, LCMT and certified corrective exercise specialist will start the session with a guided full body warm-up routine. After the warm-up, participants will use select gym equipment under Jonathan’s supervision to develop personalized corrective exercise routines and stretches for their focus areas. You will learn specifically designed movements, stretches and postural corrections to help promote healthy tissues and to avoid injury. Corrective exercise is appropriate for people of all ages and all activity levels. You can choose to participate in a group class or schedule a private session.

The weekly one-hour class will utilize ALL stages of the corrective exercise progression to compose a 50 min routine that rests, relaxes and re-trains the body to a more comfortable and normalized level of functioning. A combination of breathing, compressions, stretches and exercises will be composed each week to help a person recover from the stresses of the week and re-invigorate the body for higher level performance.


The class will be divided into two sections.  The first half of the class will be a varying routine that everyone will do together and addresses the whole body.  This stage is also used for a person to assess areas of the body that need more focus.  The second part of the class will be to reserve time for focusing CE techniques on a specific area.  The class instructor will be available to advise, guide and supervise participants individually during this time.


The weekly class takes a more general approach to the body and is the best fit for a person who may have an area of the body that is chronically uncomfortable, but they are not limited in their ability to move, get off the ground or sustain balance.


The Corrective Exercise Individual Session


When a person is experiencing more severe or chronic problems, or has multiple areas of the body that are in pain or are limited, an individual session with a certified practitioner who can provide individual attention is the best place to begin.


The purpose of a CE session or series of sessions is to create an individualized program that addresses and targets one or multiple areas of pain.  This requires some time to assess, test and develop a routine.


People who are already using physical therapy, personal fitness, massage, chiropractic or acupuncture will find a CE individual session incredibly supportive of other modalities and can provide the component of “self-care” that every modality encourages.  A CE session periodically employed with other modalities can support and enhance their goals as well.


Why would someone use corrective exercise instead of a fitness class?


Fitness programs utilize many of the same movements and techniques. However, the goal is often to improve fitness, not necessarily to focus on the rehabilitation and re-education of the musculoskeletal system.  Fitness is a form of stress, so while beneficial in the long-term, some fitness programs can aggravate symptoms of pain and discomfort.  CE has the goal of moderating and normalizing function before testing the limits of fitness and performance.


Why would someone use corrective exercise instead of other alternatives (massage, physical therapy, yoga, pilates, chiropractic, acupuncture)? 


Other modalities rely on an individual’s awareness of their pain/discomfort and the ability of that person to effectively care for themselves.  While intervention from a trained professional for a variety of issues is strongly encouraged in many circumstances, the corrective exercise program is oriented toward empowering people to have the tools, knowledge and a concrete program to care for and sustain the health of the tissue.