Years of surfing, skydiving and snowboarding – along with a work injury in her 30s – nearly put an end to Patti Sheaff’s active lifestyle.
“I was in serious pain for a while and had to stop surfing for a year,” says the 62-year-old veteran surfer. By doing Foundation Training throughout the week, she’s “back to surfing like I’m 18.”
Whether it’s for pain reduction or enhancing athletic performance, Foundation Training has become a staple for celebrities, athletes and people like us. Foundation Training uses a series of isometric poses, postures and breathing exercises to strengthen and elongate the body’s core, activate the posterior muscle chain and decompress the spine.
Foundation Training was developed by chiropractor and surfer Dr. Eric Goodman. In December of 2007, while in his final year of chiropractic school, he was suffering from chronic back pain and was told he would need spinal fusion surgery. Using his knowledge of biomechanics, anatomy — and creativity — he created Foundation Training as a way to avert surgery. And it worked.
Studies show that 95% of Americans will suffer from a bout of chronic low back pain during their life. Dr. Goodman believes the majority of pain is a direct result of poor movement patterns, and Foundation Training can improve these patterns.
10 Minutes a Day
The goal is to let your muscles take over the burden of supporting the body rather than the joints. In as little as 10 minutes a day, Foundation Training can reduce pain and increase strength while giving you more energy. It has been compared to yoga because it involves static poses, focused energy, and conscious breathing and can be done anywhere, any time. No gym or equipment is needed.
Dr. Goodman explains it can counteract the destructive effects of everyday life caused by such habits as bending over a keyboard, commuting for long hours or watching TV. All of these shrink the chest, flatten the lumbar and compress the spine. Foundation Training is a re-wiring of the poor patterns ingrained in our bodies from modern lifestyles that cause pain, deterioration, and inefficiency.
Changing the Way You Move
“Simply by changing how you move in daily life you can dramatically change how you feel in life,” Goodman says on his website. “When the body moves well, it feels well!”
Foundation Training includes a series of roughly 15 exercises with names like The Founder, The Woodpecker and the Integrated Hinge. There are long stretches called decompressions. There’s a standing lunge in which students reach as high as possible, actively lifting their weight off the ground.
If veteran surfer Patti Sheaff could give one piece of advice to younger surfers, it would be to practice Foundation Training.
Patti first read about Foundation Training online and ordered the book. She located a trainer near her home in Santa Monica, and after the first pose was overcome by the sense of relief. After attending numerous workshops and trainings with Goodman, she is now certified as a Foundation Training instructor herself.
Younger surfers like World Surf League pro Lakey Peterson swear by Foundation Training as well, says Patti. “[Lakey] claims it’s why she’s as good as she is.”