Combat Athlete Reconditioning - Module 1 - Foundation Training
In my first article, I covered my background and how it pushed me in to developing my Combat Athlete Reconditioning program. That article also offers you an overview of the three (3) modules of this program and how it can be applied to what I call Track A and Track B athletes. If you need a refresher please go check it out.
To summarize the three (3) modules, they are:
Module 1 - Foundation Training
Module 2 - Fueling Your Primary Weapons System
Module 3 - Adaptive Band & Kettlebell Training
In this article, I will cover Module 1 - Foundation Training, which delivers a solution to get you out of back and joint pain, enhance your performance, and prevent injuries. Before getting in to the details, let's start with the question of: "Why are so many tactical athletes are injured and stay injured?"
Why So Many Injuries?
The military and law enforcement community has thousands of compression-based injuries resulting from compromised joints, improper load carriage and resultant poor posture, over-training, and an overemphasis on movements in the sagittal plane. Civilians also create their own problems due to "complacent adaptation" to their environment: sitting at an office desk 8 hours a day, bad posture while using smartphones, etc. If you're too broken to do simple workouts or live with chronic pain, Foundation Training will teach your body to return to homeostasis. You will learn how to anchor and decompress the body through breath, strengthen the core and posterior chain, and improve your posture.
Here is a breakdown of four (4) common injury patterns I mentioned above that tactical athletes routinely encounter:
1. Compromised joints
Most of these injuries occur from jumping out of planes, out of vehicles, off of walls and buildings, in addition to repetitive pounding from rucking and running. Add days in full kit, pre-existing injuries, and muscle imbalances and this is a recipe for reducing personal and unit readiness, a shortened career, and long-term chronic pain. Once the joints are compromised, the tactical athlete begins reinforcing faulty movement patterns.
2. Improper load carriage and poor posture
Although there has been some headway to improve gear, the vast majority of Military and Law Enforcement have load carriage systems that add compression to the body. Even if you start your ruck march, patrol, or shift in good form, as you tire you loose the ability to properly hip hinge and your posture is compromised firing the wrong muscles repeatedly resulting in ankle, knee and lower back injuries. Again, faulty movement patters get reinforced.
3. Under-Recovering (a.k.a "Over-Training")
With the exception of a few genetic freaks, everyone pays at some point. Your programming should have a balanced macro overview that examines CST's core principles of self-preservation and longevity. As Mac says, "There's no such thing as over-training, just under-recovering." Not giving yourself enough time to recover causes a release of excess cortisol into the body producing a state of acidosis that leads to chronic inflammation. Being broken down is never an enabler.
4. Over-emphasis of Sagittal plane movements
There are three planes of movements- Frontal, Sagittal, and Transverse. Balanced programming must include all of these or it will create muscle imbalances and lead to injuries. Power lives in the Transverse Plane. With the exception of some SOF programming, most unit level PT and current fitness fads in the civilian world have fallen victim to what Mac refers to as "institutional inbreeding": Merely recycling the same outcome-based training that has been prescribed for the last 50-75 years with no exploration of performance.
What Is Foundation Training and How Can It Help You?
Foundation Training is a safe and effective exercise program created by Dr. Eric Goodman to help you change the movement patterns that are hurting you. These simple and transformative exercises are designed to naturally heal back pain. Relief begins immediately, no equipment needed.
Not in pain? Foundation Training is also the universal accessory to an active lifestyle. By integrating its short duration workouts into your routine, you will get more out of every movement you make. FT has helped professional athletes in virtually every sport reach new levels of endurance, stamina, and strength.
Foundation Training uses a combination of powerful movements, intentional poses, and conscious breathing work to activate the muscles in your posterior chain. When practiced regularly, your pain will diminish, your resistance to injury increases, and your athleticism is enhanced because:
1. Your torso, pelvis, and posterior chain strengthen
2. Your hips reclaim their intended role as the epicenter of movement
3. Your spine decompresses and space opens throughout your torso
4. Your breathing capacity and oxygen levels increase
5. Your muscles learn to correctly support your structure and posture improves
6. Your muscles learn to correctly support your structure and posture improves
Credit: Foundation Training brochure
Here are some free resources where you can learn how to perform the Foundation Training movements:
The Founder movement
The Prone Decompression movement
More free FT resources
Note: I'm working with Mac along with the Foundation Training team to develop a workout just for CST users in the very near future. Stay tuned to CST social media feeds for an official announcement coming soon.
Recent Success Stories
Here are a few examples of how I've used Foundation Training recently in my Combat Athlete Reconditioning Track A and Track B programming:
Track A example
“John” started his Army career in the 82nd Airborne for four years, and has spent the last 12 years as a Green Beret. For a 1.5 years after multiple high tempo deployment cycles, John was put on limited-duty, given multiple pain medications, steroid shots, and was on a revolving door of physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other modalities that produced only momentary relief. When I met him he was concerned about being forced to medically retire due to his bulging disks. After using Foundation Training for just four months, he is out of chronic pain and back with his unit. Although he still has visible disk issues that show up on x-ray, he has created an integrated muscular framework that allows him to perform with confidence and deploy again with his unit.
Track B example
“Mark” is a Marine Corps Veteran who was recently medically discharged a year ago from the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment. When I met him he was heavily medicated, walking with a cane, fifty pounds overweight, and on his ninth surgery barely able to spend time with his young son or leave the house. In concert with changing his diet, we spent nine months slowly implementing basic Foundation Training poses. Today he is off all medication forty-five pounds lighter, moving well, and no longer using a cane. Most recently he obtained his CCW and completed a defensive pistol course. In three months he plans to participate in his first 3-gun competition. In spite of his injuries he is back in the fight and functioning as his home and family's Sentinel.
Effective. Simple. Universal.
Whether you're a young E-2 or a 15-year career SOF operator, have limited mobility, or are an active athlete, Foundation Training can have a huge impact on your health and well-being. There is no fancy equipment needed. Foundation Training simply relies on your bodyweight, movement, and breathing. It can be done anywhere, anytime in just a few minutes a day.
Foundation Training targets the source of pain – not just the symptoms – making it a long-term solution for health. It brings the whole body; inside and out; into balance you to function at peak performance. Foundation Training is a simple system that corrects imbalances brought on by Military and Law Enforcement life in the 21st century - one that encourages too much time spent hunched over heavy loads and weapons, steering wheels, and repetitive compression.
It is a simple system of poses that can go with you anywhere and anytime that will create integrated muscular strength to resist and push back against gravity can lead to degeneration of your joints, inefficiency in your muscles, and unnecessary pain. Your occupation, combined with the ever-constant pull of gravity, causes compressive force on your bodies that is detrimental to every aspect of your health. As modern Warriors, we must learn to live and move the way our bodies are designed or else we leave ourselves vulnerable to pain, illness, fatigue, and overwhelming general malaise.
In my next article I'll be discussing how the food you eat is of critical importance for fueling your body.