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True to Form: How to Use Foundation Training for Sustained Pain Relief and Everyday Fitness Hardcover – May 17, 2016
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“Like so many people who have found relief with Foundation Training, I am grateful for the healing.” (Chris Hemsworth, actor)
“Practicing Foundation Training has been one of the most critical decisions of my surfing career. I had recurring lower back problems when I was younger, but since starting Foundation Training, my flexibility and stability are both the best they have ever been” (Lakey Peterson, women's surfing champion)
“After thirty tough years of service in the Army Airborne and Rangers, I was told by six different spinal surgeons that spinal fusion was my only option. And then I discovered Foundation Training. If only I had this marvelous tool on active duty.” (Colonel William C. Ohl II)
“Foundation Training exercises are the answer to my many years of research on the negative effects of sitting.” (Dr. Joan Vernikos, former NASA director of life sciences and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals)
“Foundation Training has been one of the most impactful additions to my career. The exercises are easy to learn, difficult to hold, and worth every minute of practice. Foundation Training should be a requirement for everyone.” (Chad Reed, TwoTwo Motorsports, Winner of Numerous Motocross and Supercross World Championships)
“Foundation Training may offer the best of all worlds in terms of building a strong core, eliminating back pain, and promoting optimal health that goes beyond fitness.” (Joseph Mercola, New York Times bestselling author Joseph Mercola, New York Times bestselling author)
From the Back Cover
Stretch. Strengthen. Breathe. The foundation of a pain-free life starts here.
Hunching all day at a keyboard, tilting our heads forward over our phones, commuting long hours, slouching on the couch—our sedentary lifestyle has led to an epidemic of chronic pain. The consequences are poor postures that throw our bodies out of balance, causing the unnecessary stress and strain that compromise our joints, restrict organ function, and weaken our muscles. How we live in our bodies is fundamental to our overall wellness. The good news is that we all hold the key to a healthier body.
Dr. Eric Goodman has spent years studying human physiology and movement, and has helped people of all ages and occupations heal and correct lifelong debilitating pain. Called Foundation Training, his practical program trains the posterior chain muscles—shoulders, back, butt, and legs—shifting the burden of support to where it belongs: the large muscle groups.
The secret to Foundation Training lies in its simplicity: no gyms, no specialized equipment, no complicated stretches. By incorporating a series of powerful movements into your daily routine, you can move better, breathe better, and get back to using your body the way nature intended.
True to Form shows readers how to integrate Foundation Training successfully into everyday life—from playing with the kids to washing dishes to long hours in the office—transforming ordinary physical actions into active and mindful movements that help to eliminate pain, boost your energy, and strengthen your body. By harnessing the body’s natural movement patterns, you can be fit, healthy, and pain-free for good.
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Dr. Eric Goodman, the creator of Foundation Training, is back with a follow up to his first book, which I previously reviewed. The bottom line of that review is that Foundation Training is the real deal, it addressed my back pain, and I'm a believer in Dr. Goodman and his system. I preordered this book not knowing exactly what to expect, but hoping that it would break new ground and not just be a rehash of the material presented in the previous book. It was recently released and I've now read it all the way through. So, does it live up to my expectation? Read on to find out!
Clocking in at roughly 200 pages, the book is a fairly quick read. The content is laid out as follows:
-Introduction and backstory
-Walkthrough of a typical day for a person living in modern western society
-Introduction to proper movement
-High level overview of Foundation Training concepts
-Explanations of exercises that encompass these concepts
-Tips for incorporating proper movement patterns into everyday life
-Basic daily programming guidelines for reinforcing proper movement patterns
There is no index, and the table of contents does not break out page numbers for specific exercises. This is problematic because it makes the book more difficult to use as a quick reference when learning the exercises - you'll have to do a bit of hunting if you're looking to review the description of a particular posture.
Like I mentioned in the intro, I bought this book hoping to get some new material and I was not disappointed. This book is not just a rehash of the first book - the material is presented in an entirely new way and has been expanded upon. It's clear that Dr. Goodman is continuing to develop and hone his system because this book introduces important new concepts like decompression and anchoring, which serve as the "foundation" (haha) of his movement system.
Decompression covers proper lengthening and expansion of the ribcage, and anchoring involves engaging the muscles of the feet, legs, and pelvis to provide strong counterbalance tension for a stable hip hinge. In my opinion, the coverage of these two topics alone is worth the price of the book.
The rest of the content is good for someone who has no previous exposure to Foundation Training, but possibly not as useful to someone already familiar with the theory behind the system and the movements. In a nutshell, the book is geared toward helping someone 1) become more mindful of how he or she moves, 2) identify movement patterns that are detrimental or actively causing discomfort or pain, and 3) alleviate that discomfort/pain by learning and reinforcing proper movement through practice of specific postures designed to engage the correct musculature.
If you are completely new to Foundation Training, you might be wondering how this system differs from other movement-based systems like yoga or pilates. In essence, Foundation Training specifically targets the activation, lengthening, and strengthening of the posterior chain (and to a lesser extent, the anterior chain), whereas yoga and pilates are intended to work the entire body. Foundation Training is not meant to replace your regular practice or fitness regimen, but rather to enhance it.
However, you can use Foundation Training as your only practice if you want to. Some days I choose to just focus on Foundation Training, taking 30 minutes to go through various postures. By the end of one of these sessions I'm reduced to a quivering mass of jelly, completely soaked in sweat, but feeling very energized. By the way, in my opinion if you aren't sweating profusely by the end of a Foundation Training session you probably need to work a bit harder in the postures - trust me, you'll see faster improvement that way.
Decompression and anchoring are concepts that you absolutely need to incorporate into your life, especially if your work involves lots and lots of sitting. The walkthrough of a typical day and how to integrate foundation postures into it are invaluable for learning how to reinforce proper movement. After all, your life won't get better if you spend just 20 minutes a day practicing proper movement only to spend the next 23 hours and 40 minutes moving like a robot zombie.
The biggest con hands down is a lack of proper indexing for the exercises. I can easily see this being a hinderance for someone wanting to use the book as a reference for reviewing the descriptions of various postures while learning the system.
Another big con in my view is the omission of exercises that were introduced in the Foundation Training DVD set that has been available for quite some time. Specifically, gorilla lifts and 8-point planks are not mentioned at all. I don't know why, I can only assume it's because these are more advanced postures and this book seems to be intended to provide an introduction to Foundation Training rather than serve as a comprehensive reference for the entire movement system.
The bottom line is that Foundation Training works. I'll rehash a bit of my previous book review, because it still applies - although I've owned the first book and DVD set for a while, I only recently got serious about doing the work after tweaking my back during an intense workout. After putting in a solid week of doing the basic Foundation series, my back pain subsided dramatically. After three weeks the pain was gone and my back felt stronger than ever. Three months in and my posture has improved, my strength has increased and I have more range of movement in my my shoulders and hips.
If you are new to Foundation Training, this book serves as a very good introduction to the system. If you already own the first book, the introduction and explanation of the concepts of decompression and anchoring are well worth the price of admission. If you own the Foundation Training DVD set, this book serves as a good complement that provides more context for the exercises and workouts presented on the DVDs.
In summary, if you have chronic back pain this program is definitely worth your time. Heck, even if you don't and you just want to be the strongest version of yourself you can possibly be, this program is for you. Buy it!
What do those stats mean in real life? Unless you are part of a very lucky small minority, you are either in pain right now, or are on a trajectory for future back pain if you do nothing to change the underlying degeneration of your body and spine. The reason I say body and spine is because it may manifest in the spine, but is really caused by a broader dysfunction in the way we use our bodies. The reason for this is covered eloquently in this book, but stated simply, we just weren’t biologically designed to spend the majority of our lives with our butts glued to a chair.
So what can one do? One option is to load up on pain relievers, and trudge ahead. According to statistics, Americans consume 80% of the entire global supply of prescription pain killers, notching 28,000 deaths from overdose in 2014. And that number doesn’t include over-the-counter stuff. The other option is to make some simple, but fundamental changes in the way you use your body. That’s what Foundation Training, and this book, is about.
As the co-director of a holistic health center in Taiwan, I find Foundation Training invaluable both personally and professionally. Personally, I messed my back up some 20 years ago, and while it wasn’t a debilitating injury, it bothered me on and off for a long time. All I had to do was bend over the wrong way, and I threw my back out, leading to limited movement and discomfort for several days. Chiropractors helped some in offering relief, but never worked out the problem completely. Since doing Foundation Training my back has seldom bothered me since. In addition, as a best-selling author in Taiwan, I had some serious postural issues from long-time sitting and slumping over a computer that Foundation Training helped resolve. Professionally, as a certified instructor of Foundation Training, I have worked with many students who realized relief from pain, in some cases for quite serious issues beyond routine back pain.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of Foundation Training. The movements may be few and simple, but they have been carefully designed and perfected over years of practical application, and can, as thousands of people have attested to, deliver a big impact when it comes to changing the way we use our bodies, and relieving pain; not just in backs, but necks, shoulders, and knees as well. I won’t go into the details about how it does that, as that is outlined clearly in this book, but stated simply, think of it as the antidote to what modern living does to our bodies. As an added plus, you need no expensive gym membership, no equipment, no special venue, just your body, a space the size of a yoga mat, and a few minutes a day.
For those who want to experience FT first-hand, there are several options, including searching out a certified trainer or taking an FT workshop. In the DIY category, there is the original FT book, and not one, but two DVD series. So, how to choose and why this book? If you are a person who lives more in the body than the mind, and would like to “just do it,” getting the most recent DVD series and putting your pain or dysfunctional movement behind you is a great idea. However, if you want some of the why in addition to the what, and most of us do, this book provides it. There is also an earlier Foundation Training book, but this one represents the most recent and updated information and techniques in the ongoing evolution of Foundation Training. This book provides all of the basic and necessary movements, although the DVD takes it a bit further with more detailed explanations of the movements and a number of integrated workouts.
I consider myself fortunate to have been able to study personally with and be certified by Dr. Eric Goodman, the original creator of Foundation training. Even though his work has been recognized by many well-known athletes and health professionals, including Dr. Mercola, Eric remains a humble person who is really focused on helping people. However you do it, be it in a class, one-on-one with a trainer, through the DVD or this book, I recommend you learn Foundation Training and make it a part of your life and not end up being a statistic for pain and dysfunction.