My “Foundation” Review
An organization I came across earlier this year is Foundation Training, lead by Dr. Eric Goodman and Peter Park, former strength coach to Lance Armstrong. My first exposure to the group was a testimonial video on YouTube from Derek Fisher.
Derek is one of my favorite NBA players, so I decided to take a closer look at Foundation Training. I was impressed & intrigued by the emphasis placed on proper hinging; while I’d been exposed to this before from other sources, the specific attention given to hinging properly was something I hadn’t seen. A few weeks ago, I ordered a batch of books to update my library, and I made sure to include the Foundation book as part of that.
Having just finished reading it, I have to give it a very high recommendation. The basis of the text is to help you move better, something that is so often overlooked in the fitness community. Most of the people who get to a gym just want to move handles on a machine with little-to-no regard for the way in which they’re doing it. As a result, they end up with little to show for their efforts other than maybe some injuries & chronic pain. The conclusion then becomes that they gave the active lifestyle a try and, “it didn’t work them,” so they revert back to sedentary living.
Foundation steps in to say before you do something, make sure you can do it properly. As far as the authors are concerned, the biggest hiccup getting in the way of people executing proper movement is the inability to use one’s hips. Their root exercise (the Founder) is designed to remedy this scenario, as it teaches people to pivot as opposed to bending. Moving this way keeps you structurally sound; while the degree of hinging and back extension varies depending on the activity, it gives your body the most beneficial leverage for power output regardless of your application (weight lifting, running, cycling, etc.)
Though the book is written with a focus towards people dealing with chronic back pain, the principles it outlines are true for everybody, pained or not. As a motocross rider, the importance of proper hinging is second to none. It can be the deciding factor between whether you ride efficiently or become fatigued. It can also be the most powerful form of injury prevention, because it helps you control the bike better so your risk of crashing diminishes.
This has less to do with the specific requirements of riding a motorcycle in rough terrain (although that does play a part), so much as everybody who rides one is human, and the human body is designed to support loads in a certain way that is most beneficial to all of us; football players, wrestlers, Olympic weightlifters, martial artists, etc. all know how to maximize the use of their hips for maximal power, strength, & efficiency.
Foundation also covers life beyond their specific training program. They address the importance of proper rest, recovery, stress management, hydration, & nutrition. My only disagreement is with the inclusion of meat in their nutrition guidelines, although to their credit, they consider it to be a supplemental or ancillary part of one’s diet as opposed to a staple food (they also dissuade consumption of conventional, factory-farmed meats).
Overall, I consider this book an essential read for anyone who makes a living in the fitness industry or moves on a daily basis (meaning everybody). It’s well-written and concise, so you can easily digest the information in a day or two and start applying it right away. I did my first go at the basic Foundation routine this morning; I have to say that even for someone like me who has no pain issues & lifts weights on a regular basis, some of the exercises were quite challenging. I’ll be including Foundation work as a part of my training from now on, and I’m eager to see how my body responds in sport & life.
Until next time…