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Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence Paperback – May 10, 2011
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“I thought my lower back would be my Achilles' heel forever. Foundation training took that thought out of the equation. I feel strong and flexible, and my posture is better than it has ever been. This stuff is just plain good for you.” ―Matthew McConaughey, actor
“I have always been in great shape and take pride in maintaining a certain level of fitness, but in the time I have been working with Peter Park and Eric Goodman, I have reached a new level of endurance, stamina, and strength. The program pushes me without exhausting me, conditions me, and has completely changed the way my body moves and feels.” ―Derek Fisher, LA Laker and NBA champion
“I am fortunate enough to represent some of the world's greatest athletes, and after working with Peter and Eric for the last two years, I am starting to feel as strong as one! The core principles of this book have made me stronger and fitter than I ever imagined possible, and I intend to make them a part of my daily routine for many years to come.” ―Casey Wasserman, chairman and CEO of Wasserman Media Group
About the Author
DR. ERIC GOODMAN earned a doctor of chiropractic degree after undergraduate study in physiology and nutrition. He developed an innovative approach to human performance and movement in his work training elite athletes.
PETER PARK, Lance Armstrong's strength and conditioning coach and one of the top trainers in the country, owns Platinum Fitness gyms. A professional triathlete and ultrarunner, he has won two World's Toughest Triathlon titles and five top-10 finishes in Ironman competitions.
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Several months ago I began researching exercises to cure back pain and came across Foundation. I did a fair amount of research on it including reading 80% of the Amazon reviews on the book. I'm going to repeat several things from those other reviews. The most important point is to make sure to watch online videos of Dr. Eric Goodman showing the Foundation exercises. You will get a much better idea of correct form. The video I found especially helpful was of Dr. Goodman showing Dr. Mercola how to do the basic exercises. One of the negatives of the book is it doesn't show alternative techniques if you're experiencing back pain for a particular exercise. The videos will occasionally show these alternates.
The book takes you through a six week training regimen. The first two weeks introduces the basic exercises of Foundation and concentrates on fixing acute pain (reoccurring pain); the second two weeks is to fix chronic pain (pain all the time, which is what I have); and the last two weeks on exercises to strengthen the core and prevent future back pain. The basic idea of Foundation I believe is to both strengthen the back and stretch different muscle groups.
I kept a diary of my progress and thought it might benefit people to know my results over time. On a side note, I should mention I was very dedicated to the program and went beyond what was suggested. I would do the Foundation workouts between 4 to 6 times a week and would hold the poses 30 seconds instead of the 15 to 20 as they state in the book. (After six weeks I started alternating Foundation every other day with core exercises, which mainly consisted of planks.)
For the first three days of starting Foundation I concentrated on making sure I was doing the exercises with the proper form. That meant before each exercise I'd study what it said in the book, watch Youtube videos, and then perform the exercise. It took me about a week to get comfortable with the positions. Are the exercises easy to perform? I found them initially uncomfortable because they are poses I hadn't done before. You will definitely work up a sweat holding the positions. I don't think you need to be an athlete, but if you've never worked out, you might not like Foundation at first. Stick with it though. After only a little time you'll get comfortable with the exercises and the results are worth it.
Even after two weeks, I still wasn't convinced I was making progress. I felt less stiff in my lower back but my pain level remained the same. It wasn't until the start of the third week that I really could tell that my back pain was slightly better. It wasn't much of an improvement but an improvement nonetheless.
Before Foundation if I did yard work for 15 minutes, this translated into several days of a fairly bad back pain. By the fifth week of Foundation I could work in the yard 15 minutes and only have bad back pain the next day. This might sound minor or not worth using Foundation to some people, but to me it was a huge improvement. It also let me know that I was making significant progress using Foundation.
By the fourth month I felt like I'd reached a plateau and wasn't noticing any more improvement. However, I was really doing well as compared to before I started doing Foundation. Now I'd wake up in the morning with the usual amount of back pain but by lunch feel fairly good. By evening I wouldn't really feel any back pain. This still wasn't where I wanted to be because I was looking for more dramatic improvement (to reset the clock to the months before my back pain even began).
It was during this fourth month I decided to take a yoga class. I experienced slight back pain during the class, but when I woke up the next day I felt really good. I started incorporating yoga into my Foundation workouts and the results have been amazing. A lot of mornings I wake up without back any pain. This is a novelty to me. Morning back pain has been a part of my life for almost two years.
I think yoga and Foundation are complimentary. I would suggest doing what I did: start with Foundation and if that doesn’t fix your problem, consider adding yoga to your routines. I don't think I could've even done yoga before I started Foundation. It would've been too painful, and I suspect I might've injured myself. Foundation gave me the basis to move on to yoga.
Two final notes: First, if you're considering either the DVD or the book on Foundation, definitely get the book. Maybe get the DVD later for additional exercises, but from a beginners standpoint the book is much better. I can't stress this enough. Second, consider adding the bird dog exercise into your routine with progressively higher ankle weights. The book The Multifidus Back Pain Solution book by Jim Johnson makes a strong case that this exercise can be one of the best to fix lower back pain.
To conclude, I highly recommend Foundation to anybody experiencing lower back pain.
Having the accompanying DVD - available at foundationtrainingdotorg (go to store) would be very helpful I think though I've found many great YouTube type videos available for free at their Web site which may be sufficient.
The principles preached in this book seem sound. I've suffered from chronic back pain for several years. I'm had countless rhizotomies and most recently an epidural. The epidural finally got me to be pain free but I know it will only last for two to three months and the procedure is painful. I think having supplemental video is important as it's hard to do exercises with a book, Kindle or traditional.
In fairness to the readers of this review I will say I've just purchased the book and haven't given the exercises the "good old college try" just yet. Once I do, if I find them to not be as good as my initial review suggests I'll revise my review accordingly.
Start slow and work your way up to doing the full set of exercises.