When Andy came across Dr. Eric Goodman’s Foundation Training Program, it changed his life. Within a few weeks, his back pain was completely gone and he was back on the road and back to his bike adventures. “It’s simple to think about your posture and your body,” says Andy. “It just made sense to me when a lot of other things bore me.” Andy says that Eric inspired him in his videos with his teaching skills and kept him engaged throughout the training process. “Not only did I think it was informative, but it was fun to watch online,” says Andy. “I thought he was cool.”
Andy was so excited about this program that he wanted to share it with the whole world, so we got in touch with Eric Goodman, the creator of Foundation Training, to hear directly from him just what Foundation Training is, why it works, and how anyone can cure chronic pain with these simple but innovative exercises. Whether you’re an active cyclist, a beginner on the bike, or don’t cycle at all and sit at a desk all day—if you have chronic back pain, Foundation Training may just be the cure you’ve been searching for.
Learning to Listen to Your Body
After graduating from chiropractic school, Eric knew he wanted to care for his patients by teaching them to care for themselves, but in order to do that, he had to start by caring for himself. “I went very far educationally in the fitness world, and it didn’t answer my own questions for my own chronic pain,” says Eric. “The reality is, medicine isn’t that good at fixing chronic pain.” So Eric started looking inward. Everything Eric has done in fitness stems from this desire to understand his own body.
“My body kept breaking down seemingly faster than other people,” says Eric, “so my pursuit in the fitness, health, and chiropractic world is a mixture of trying to fix my own pain and understanding it so I can help other people with theirs.” Eric took the source of his pain and turned it into his source of inspiration.
Eric says that health and fitness begin with introspection and that everyone should try to become better at understanding how his or her own body feels in order to understand how to treat pain. “We learn the most about ourselves by becoming sensitive to what we eat, how we move, and how our body functions.” This concept is the foundation of everything that he teaches.
What is Foundation Training?
What is now Foundation Training was designed 100% around what Eric feels and what helps his own body, but Eric has seen great success in using the program to treat others with chronic pain. “Most common spinal malfunctions are very similar,” says Eric. Foundation Training seems to work well for more than 80% of people who try the exercises.
Foundation Training is a reaction to where our modern times have taken our bodies physically. “It’s not that we don’t take care of ourselves, but the postures we’ve gotten used to while sitting in front of the computer and television prevent us from moving the way we’re meant to,” says Eric. “Everyone puts his or her body into positions that are extremely challenging, and the body begins to support them.” Foundation Training corrects those positions by working in opposition to them.
Eric’s exercises are simple and accessible to people at all levels of activity and fitness. “The only reason it has any notoriety is because if its simplicity,” says Eric. Anchoring the pelvis and decompressing the torso is the cornerstone of Eric’s work. Foundation Training rewires your neural patterns and movement the more you repeat it. “Foundation Training provides the oppositional force we need to unwind out of compression and get our bodies back to moving the way it’s intended to move,” he says.
Foundation Training for Cyclists
Eric bikes for fun, but he wouldn’t consider himself a cyclist himself. He has learned everything he knows about cycling by working with injured cyclists, including professional cycling teams, and his program has become very well-known in the cycling community. “I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with a number of the best cyclists in the world,” says Eric. “One of the main reasons that the cycling community is so big into our work is because it offers such a wonderful alternate to seeing a physician.”
Most cyclists who experience chronic pain feel it in their backs. Many cyclists become very quad-dominant, and as their quads get stronger, their backs and hips can suffer as the quads pull you towards pain. “Foundation Training strengthens the butt and back muscles to give you a much more efficient cycling pedal stroke while at the same time putting the force that’s driving that pedal stroke out of the quads and into the posterior chain of muscles,” says Eric. Eric says his program can help cyclists see drastic changes in both the comfort in the saddle on their bike adventures and in their daily lives as a result of Foundation Training.
But can Foundation Training make you a better cyclist even if you aren’t experiencing pain? “Yes,” says Eric. “Foundation Training makes cyclists better cyclists, surfers better surfers, and golfers better golfers by putting you in the right positions to become stronger.”
Foundation Training for Cubicle Bodies
Eric says that Foundation Training isn’t just for professional athletes or people who are incredibly fit. “It’s made for everybody,” he says. “I don’t want people to be intimidated.” Foundation Training is a back pain exercise, and you don’t have to be an athlete to experience back pain. “I don’t work with anybody differently,” he says. In fact, people who sit at a desk all day can often get the most out of the program. “The issue with sitting is that the muscles on the front have gotten so tight and short, they literally stop the muscles on the back of the body to oppose them, and Foundation Training corrects that.”
Eric says that the more people do Foundation Training, the less likely they will be to continue sitting at a desk because their bodies become sensitive to the way they’re sitting. “They’ll stop using back rests, get a standing desk, or find a job that doesn’t require them to sit all day,” says Eric. “They will use their muscles to support their spine, and standing will become easier and more comfortable than sitting.”
How to Get Started with Foundation Training
- Buy the Book. Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence by Eric Goodman is a great way to learn more about the science behind Foundation Training and understand what Eric does and how the program works.
- Watch the Foundation Training Videos. Eric has some free introductory videos on the Foundation Training website to get the hang of the program and learn more about it.
- Get the Foundation Training DVD. For a more comprehensive training program and to really dig into learning all the exercises, you can purchase Eric’s 2-DVD set with more than 2.5 hours of instruction.
- Learn from a Coach. Foundation Training now has 450 instructors in 17 countries around the world, and they’ve only been certifying people for two years! That network is growing quickly and coaches will become more and more accessible in the coming years.
- Get Certified. The best way to immerse yourself fully in Foundation Training is to attend an instructor certification and learn all there is to know about the program. “You walk out of that room a different person,” says Eric. “And anyone can do it.” Eric says that about half of those who attend certifications are doctors, and the other half come from just about every background—from incredibly athletic to minimally athletic. Personal trainers, yoga instructors, and doctors usually integrate the exercises into what they already do, but Eric says that there are also about 20% of his students who have no intention of teaching it but use it for themselves for their own chronic pain.
Best Advice for Curing Your Back Pain with Foundation Training
- Don’t give up “Just like anything worth learning, everybody sucks at first,” says Eric, “because it’s hard and your body has to adapt to it.” Foundation Training can feel awkward for a week or two. Your muscles will shake and tremble until they learn it. “It’s a re-patterning process in which muscles learn to play the role they are meant to play instead of the role they’ve learned over time,” says Eric, “but they will learn it, and it will get easier.” Eric says that you should feel stronger within the first two weeks of the program if you build a strong habit, and some people may even feel better after the first day!
- Make it a habit “I care much less about how intense or how long a person does the exercises,” says Eric. “It’s much more important to repeat the exercises every day because the entire basis of the program is to keep reminding your body of where it’s meant to hold itself.”
- If you can only do one pose every day, make it the Founder Pose If you can do it correctly, the Founder exercise is the most powerful and will produce the best results in the shortest amount of time. Watch Eric’s Ted Talk to learn a quick routine and get a feel for his approach:
You can catch Eric driving around the country in a giant RV that he calls “Wellness Wagon One,” traveling from city to city to teach free public classes and teach certifications. Between teaching classes and certifying new teachers, Eric spends his time surfing and riding his bike. “We’re trying to do a grassroots program,” says Eric. “We just want to be there for people to find us when they need us.”
Want to know more about how Foundation Training helped Andy cure chronic back pain from cycling? Drop him a line.