What is Corrective Exercise

December 18, 2019

By Ethan Konoza MS, ATC, NASM-CES, PES

Corrective exercise is a term used to describe the systematic process of identifying a neuromuscular skeletal dysfunction, developing a plan of action, and implementing an integrated corrective strategy. This process requires knowledge and application of integrated assessment process, corrective program design, and exercise technique. (Clark, Lucett, & Sutton, 2014).

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has developed a systematic plan to approach this process: The Corrective Exercise Continuum. NASM’s corrective exercise continuum has four primary phases:

Inhibition Phase
The inhibition phase utilizes inhibitory techniques to release tension or decrease activity of overactive neuromyofascial tissues in the body. Self-myofascial release techniques (ie: foam roller) are often used to achieve this.

Lengthening Phase
The lengthening phase uses lengthening techniques (static stretching or neuromuscular stretching) to increase extensibility, length, and range of motion of the same neuromyofascial targeted in the inhibitory phase.

Activation Phase
The activation phase aims to increase activation and reeducate underactive tissues. This can be accomplished through the use of isolated strengthening exercises and positional isometrics.

Integration Phase
The integration phase aims to collectively retrain and re-educate the synergistic function of all muscles and muscular subsystems through functionally progressive movements through performing integrated dynamic movements.

Corrective exercise strategies such as NASM’s Corrective Exercise Continuum provide health and fitness professionals with an integrated systematic approach to addressing muscular imbalances, minimizing injury and help to restore functional movement patterns