“Corrective exercise” sounds vaguely like a form of punishment, similar to reform school. In fact, however, the term simply refers to therapeutic exercises done for the sake of addressing limitations in flexibility, mobility, and strength that compromise our ability to perform sports movements in ways that reduce efficiency and increase injury risk.
Corrective exercise is not a specific type of activity, like Pilates, but encompasses all types of activity—static stretches, dynamic stretches, foam rolling, bodyweight strength exercises, and more—that serve this basic purpose. If you’re looking for a simple way to run better and healthier next year, consider adding corrective exercise to your daily routine.
Act Like a Pro
I was first introduced to the practice in the summer of 2017, which I spent in Flagstaff as an honorary, temporary member of the Hoka One One Northern Arizona Elite professional running team. Throughout this three-month period, I had full access to all of the support resources as the real pros, including physical therapy, and as a 46-year-old injury-prone runner, I made full use of them.
Whenever pain signaled an imminent breakdown, I visited Hypo2 Sport in Flagstaff or Maximum Mobility in Phoenix, where I would undergo testing and leave with a list of corrective exercises that I was instructed to do daily to fix the limitations that, according to the testing, were contributing to my problem.
Working out at Hypo2Sport / photo: Jen Rosario NAZ Elite
By the end of the summer I was spending 30 to 35 minutes a day on these exercises, and I wasn’t alone. All of the real pros had corrective exercise routines of their own, each customized to meet their individual needs. I found the habit to be highly beneficial. Corrective exercise didn’t completely prevent injuries from starting, but it did help keep them from getting out of control. I was able to survive several weeks in the 80- to 90-mile range, which is a lot for me. On top of that, I just felt better—less stiff getting out of bed in the morning, less rusty when taking those first few strides of a warm-up.