NASM CES Chapter 18: Real-World Application of Corrective Exercise Strategies 1

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    Chapter Goals:

    • Make a corrective exercise program that is individualized and based on the client’s own desires of outcomes and functional needs.
    • Make a program for corrective exercise that is individualized and also based on the results that came from the assessments. 
    • Be able to explain the integration of corrective exercise for the many scenarios or circumstances.
    • Make a program for corrective exercise that works with the current movement compensation of the client.


    IT should be seen that the corrective exercise continuum to this point in the book is more than just a collection of assessments, techniques, and exercises.

    Instead, it is a comprehensive assessment and programming system for enhancing and optimizing the movement, recovery, and durability of people.

    The continuum puts together the evidence based strategies and solutions that are rooted in concepts and principles throughout the science of human movement.

    this gives the fitness professional the ability to utilize and employ many techniques, tools, and practices in the program so that they can accomplish the desired outcomes with their clients.

    The ideal program will go beyond just science and focus on the client itself. 

    The program being made should not just include the needs and assessment results specific to the client, but also meet their goals and expectations along with being correctly and consistently execute over time to elicit improvement. 

    Corrective Exercise for Any Goal

    The corrective exercise desired outcomes are going to be in the realm of hypertrophy, weight loss, health and wellness, and athletic performance.

    Make sure to study the table that details the information regarding the benefits of corrective exercise and the individual suggestion for adherence for all of the desired outcomes mentioned. 

    Prioritizing Corrective Exercise Programming

    A common concern coming from the fitness professionals will be the challenge of knowing where to start programming when a client shows many compensations in the process of assessment.

    There are many ways to prioritize the strategy of corrective exercise, and it is simply going to be up to the specialist on deciding where the client should start.

    We do have some considerations that can go into making these decisions. 

    Prioritize a Region

    A region or a kinetic chain checkpoint may come out as an obvious place to focus the programming on.

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    Whichever compensation is seen to stick out the most to you, would be a good place to start.

    This is especially good if the client is limited on time or is able to execute only a few corrective exercises. 

    Functional and Lifestyle Needs of the Client

    The professional may also choose to prioritize exercise selections based upon the needs the client has.

    Creating the programs that will match the assessment results with the lifestyle or functional needs of a client is a sweet spot for combining personal relevance with the science of exercise. 

    Needs of the Workout

    One of the simpler ways that we can program corrective exercise will be to make it easy for the client to understand corrective exercise as a customized movement preparation sequence for the workout.

    Some example of programming selections for the improvement of the shoulder region could be things like:

    • Inhibit with the tool of choice the pec minor, upper traps, and the latissimus dorsi.
    • Lengthen with static stretch the pec major and minor, the upper traps, and the latissimus dorsi. 
    • Activate the prone cobra and the plank.
    • Integrate with the exercises of the squat to row, and warm up sets of the first exercise to be done. 

    Programming When Compensations are Present

    Reinforcing Proper Movement Patterns

    Health and fitness professionals may abandon some movement patterns due to the lack of mobility of their clients or a lack in neuromuscular control for performing with good technique.

    Sometimes you should avoid moves like squatting, overhead, or hinging exercises until the professional is confident in the client’s ability.

    Here are some strategies for fundamental movement patterns in clients that compensate:

    • Focus the inhibition and lengthening techniques on the areas that show impairments that are specific to the desired pattern.
    • Even if it is partial, use the range of motion of the client to perform the move instead of simply omitting it due to a lessened range of motion.
    • Perform movements that compliment and reinforce the trained patterns during activation and integration phases of the continuum.

    Using All Phases of the Corrective Exercise Continuum

    Using all of the phases we have covered is really critical to the creation of beneficial programs of corrective exercise.

    It is often seen that professionals will skip steps and phases of activation and integration at times.

    Each phase accomplishes a certain objective in the human movement system, and when they are put together with the other components, they will create the ideal environment for moving properly and integrating into the client or athlete’s everyday life.

    The third and the fourth steps are sometimes skipped, but really without them, the client will achieve a naïve range of motion and the human movement system will not have learned how to properly handle and incorporate the movement patterns.

    These mobility gains will end up being short lived and not reinforced in any way.

    Corrective Exercise Progressions

    The corrective exercise programs should align themselves along the principle of overload.

    This is like with resistance training where we see the need to do more and more in order for progression to actually happen. 

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    Incorporating Corrective Exercise Strategies in Different Scenarios

    Corrective Exercise as the Warm-up

    This is the most common application of corrective exercise and it is used to set the precedent for what is needed to be worked on and focused on for the workout.

    The priority is placed on that region of the body or whatever it might be, and the client knows how it should be focused on, a little more so, due to the workout beginning with corrective exercise.

    This also depends on the availability of time in the workout when considering how much you will be able to do.  

    When incorporated in this fashion, we see that is usually is not needed to have more than 5 – 15 minutes for this. 

    Corrective Exercise as the Entire Workout

    This is less common, but still possible.

    It is going to be applied to the client as the actual workout itself, and this is usually going to be a total of 30 – 60 minutes all together.

    The long term view in restoring optimal function and efficiency of the kinetic chain is based on the person’s results and needs.

    Some people may need this, if perhaps they have more compensations and dysfunctions present.

    Some of the more common reasons that we see corrective exercise used in the form of a full workout would be for those clients that are perhaps part of a post rehab program, some deconditioned clients’ needs for it, and as use for separate recovery workout perhaps between session days. 

    Corrective Exercise in Group Settings

    This can be challenging to implement, especially when the ratio of professional to client ratios are higher. But this is a growing part of the group fitness class setting.

    When doing this, the professionals should simply focus on the common dysfunctions found in the general population, or the set of people present, and they should implement the teaching of individual homework assignments for the class attendees to do. 

    Corrective Exercise Without Equipment

    The effective combination of movements of the body weight variety can be more than enough to serve as corrective exercise for the clients and athletes. 

    NASM CES Chapter 18: Real-World Application of Corrective Exercise Strategies 2
    NASM CES Chapter 18: Real-World Application of Corrective Exercise Strategies 3

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