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Finding a corrective exercise specialist

After a particularly involved corrective exercise discussion in the forum, or via email after a blog post on recovering joint mobility, queries pop up about how to find local help with fixable dysfunctions. The desperation is understandable: Can’t someone just tell me what to do so I don’t have to study a bunch of anatomy?

At this point in the fitness and wellness industry, it’s almost an impossible question. If you get yourself in the right hands, anyone from a personal trainer, a physical therapist, a chiropractor, a physiatrist, Feldenkrais practitioner or Rolfer can sort out the movement problems of a live person in about an hour. In allopathic medicine, it would be the physiatrist, but they mostly work with patients in pain; I’m not sure what the response would be if you showed up with no symptoms, wanting to know how to fix your problems.

The thing is, finding the right person is real iffy, pretty doubtful, in fact. In the next few years, more and more people will be practicing using these assessment techniques, but we’re just not there yet. And, of course, each body is incredibly complex, so a person without a good deal of experience will have the basics, but the more subtle structural issues may go unnoticed. It really takes a good eye, a lot of opportunity to look at people, and a lot of patience to carry them through the trial and error process as they learn their craft.

For that reason, my first recommendation for a reader looking for local assistance would be Rolfing, because their regime is a systematic, ten-session, bottom-up process that covers the entire body, including the deeper parts we don’t usually think about. By the time the ten weeks are over, the fascia that contributes to holding things like feet tilted or arches dropped, hips twisted or tilted, abdominals tight, neck stretched, etc etc etc, has all been loosened, and the recipient has been retrained out of his or her faulty postural habits. For now, Rolfing is my initial recommendation for a full-body makeover when a local specialist isn’t a sure thing; if you can find a KMI-trained practitioner, so much the better — this is structural integrity similar to Rolfing, but with two extra sessions, all twelve based on the body’s myofascial slings.

But Rolfing takes a ten-week commitment, and the work is paid out of pocket. Shifting a 40- or 50-year-old back to feeling like 20 is priceless, and hopefully some readers and forum members will decide to go that route in the months and years to come. A slightly less reliable option is myofascial release therapy such as that taught by John F. Barnes in Sedona, Arizona. The reason I called it slightly less reliable is without the Rolfing treatment structure, the client is relying on the therapist’s good judgment. In many cases, this will be faster and possibly better than Rolfing because the person may have one very specific need the Rolfing program doesn’t get to until a later treatment, but that the MF release therapist can target on the first session. The downside is some people have a better eye than others, and if your therapist happens to be an other, you may end up chasing your tail a little.

A cheaper and shorter-term option is a near-local practitioner. How about this? Find a corrective exercise expert within driving distance; head down the road and make a long weekend of it. For a reasonable fee to cover a couple hours’ time, you could walk away with your current dysfunction evaluation and list of the exact exercises and stretches that will convert your ailing body from aching to fully functional. A couple months of dedicated effort and you’ll feel reborn.

Here are the options on my current list. I’ll update it from time to time as I discover more corrective exercise specialists. Feel free to drop me your name and link if you work with individuals with assessments and corrective exercise programs, or if you have suggestion for this list. I’m at ldraper@davedraper.com.

Find a local Rolfer

Find a local KMI-certified practitioner

Find a local Feldenkrais practitioner

Find a local myofascial release therapist

Gray Cook and Lee Burton have a program to train personal trainers and physical therapists in screening; find a certified Functional Movement Screen specialist.

Dr. Eric Cobb has trained practitioners in Z-health, right up our alley.

Pete Egoscue has a few clinics where they also do this work.

Paul Chek has trained practitioners in corrective exercise.

Another option: MAPS Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapists, a program developed by Australian physiotherapist Geoffrey Maitland, who appears to be expanding upon Rolfing practices similar to Tom Myers’ KMI stuff, combined with joint mobilization.

If you’re shopping for a personal trainer in the phone book, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has an advanced specialization for corrective exercise. It appears they offer no online directory, however the initials the trainers will use is NASM-CES.
By state:

Juneau, AK, Corey Pavitt, D.C. at Pavitt Health and Fitness

Scottsdale, AZ, Josh Henkin at Innovative Fitness
Chandler, AZ, Patrick Ward
Chandler, AZ, Keats Snideman
Mesa, AZ, Michael Lovegren

Palo Alto, CA, Mark Reifkind
Santa Cruz, CA, Suzie Lundgren
San Diego, CA, Anthony Carey at Function First
San Diego, CA, Justin Price at The BioMechanics
San Diego, CA, Todd Durkin’s team at Fitness Quest 10
San Diego, CA, Jason Karp
San Diego, CA, Milo Bryant
Montrose, CA, Lenny Parracino
Pasadena, CA, Zac Marshall
Danville, CA, Clay Hyght, D.C.
Santa Monica, CA, Core Performance Center specialist
Santa Rosa, CA, Lana Pacheco
Venice, CA, Howard Skora
Visalia, CA, Justin Levine
Los Angeles, CA, Jacques Taylor

Greenwood Village, CO, Greg Roskopf does similar work with his Muscle Activation Techniques

Hartford, CT, John Izzo
Middleton, CT, Andy Moses

Orlando, FL, Chuck Wolf at Human Motion Associates
Tampa, FL, Brad Kaczmarski
South Beach, FL, Tom Furman
Boca Raton, FL, JC Santana’s Institute of Human Performance
Jacksonville, FL, Giles Wiley

Columbus, GA, Bill Long
Kennesaw, GA, Bill Sonnemaker

Evanston, IL, Evan Osar
Naperville, IL, Nicki Anderson
Chicago, IL, Robert Lardner
Chicago, IL, Adam Wolf

Indianapolis, IN, Bill Hartman or Mike Robertson
Evansville, IN, Kyle Kiesel
Evansville, IN, Phil Plisky
Indianapolis, Robb Rogers’ group at St. Vincent’s Performance Center
West Lafayette, IN, Cody Sipe

Mandeville, LA, Charlie Hoolihan at the Pelican Athletic Club

Towson, MD, Dan Cenidoza
Baltimore, MD, Nick Tumminello

Winchester, MA, one of Mike Boyle’s trainers at MBSC
Hudson, MA, Eric Cressey and his guys at Cressey Performance
Woburn, MA, Aaron Brooks of Perfect Postures
Boston, MA, Peter McCall
Natick, MA, Eric Beard

Adrian, MI, Gary Gray’s team at the Gray Institute
Gary Gray is at the forefront of this industry and has provided much of the training used by others in the corrective exercise and performance fields.
Pontiac, MI, Bob Budai and team at Functional Strength Training

Woodbury, MN, Brad Nelson
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Joe Licht
White Bear Lake, MN, Mike Nelson

St. Louis, MO, Tracy Fober at IronMaven

Omaha, NE, Mark Snow

New Jersey:
Freehold, NJ, Charlie Weingroff at CentraState Sports Performance
Hewitt, NJ, Perry Nickelston
Montclair, NJ, Gordon Waddell
Fair Lawn, NJ, Martin Rooney at Parisi School
Montville, NJ, Eric D’Agati at One Human Performance
Manasquan, NJ, Jon Messner
Medford, NJ, Keith Scott and crew at Breakthru Physical Therapy

New York:
New York, NY, Ming Chew
White Plains, NY, Anthony Renna at FiveIronFitness
Manhattan, NY, Chris McGrath

Brooklyn, NY, Annette Lang

North Carolina:
Raleigh, NC, Tom Dalonzo-Baker and his crew at Total Motion Release

North Dakota:
Minot, ND, Adam T. Glass

Columbus, OH, Andrew Lyons
Dayton, OH, Shane England, Chris Kissel and Angelene Moore at Personally Fit

Newberg, OR, Dewey Nielsen at IPT

Edmond, OK, Dustin Rippetoe
Edmond, OK, Jay Dawes at OneEighty
Talala, OK, Jeff O’Connor
Pittsburgh, PA, Brett Jones
Yardley, PA, Kareem F. Samhouri
Shenandoah, PA, Tom Deebel, D.C.
Swarthmore, PA, Bruce Kelly

Nashville, TN, Angela McCuiston
Nashville, TN, Dave Whitley
Nashville, TN, Ward Williams

Austin, TX, Andy Twellman
Austin, TX, Diane Vives
Austin, TX, Adam Davila
Houston, TX, Paul Yost

Danville, VA, Gray Cook or Lee Burton

Seattle, WA, Tim Vagen

Washington, DC:
Washington, DC, Tanya Colucci at MINT

Madison, WI, Jon Hinds
Germantown, WI, Dave Schmitz

Mississauga, Ontario, Jim Reeves

There are hundreds, possibly even thousands of qualified corrective exercise specialists who aren’t on this list. If your trainer is missing, please do not consider this a comment on his or her work. In fact, if you’re getting good guidance on fixing dysfunctioning joints from a specialist not on the list, please drop me an email with his or her name and a link.

15 Responses to 'Finding a corrective exercise specialist'

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  1. on October 30th, 2008 at 3:41 am

    If anyone knows about someone in India pls drop their name by…


  2. on November 3rd, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for the Z Health shout out–much appreciated. If there are any specific Z Health questions I can help answer, please let me know.
    Keep up the great work here!
    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson
    MSME, RKC, CSCS, PhD(c), Z Health level 4

  3. Paul Schell said,

    on November 10th, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Hi Laree,

    Thanks also for mention of the Egoscue Method. Pete Egoscue’s been going at this now since 1971 and he couldn’t be more ecstatic that “functional exercise” is at the level where it is more accessible for people and a viable option instead of bracing, surgery and meds to simply mask the problems. I stumbled across your blog and will have to tune in more. Great stuff!
    Best regards,

    Paul Schell
    Egoscue West LA

  4. John Smith said,

    on February 28th, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Hey guys:

    Did you hear the news about NASMPro. NASM is going to turn their NASMpro.com website into a multilevel network marketing scam. They are going to try to make money off trainers training fees.

  5. Rob said,

    on May 20th, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    The NASM-CES certification is a good specialization cert that doesn’t require further CEU’s to maintain. Definitely would recommend athletic trainers, personal trainers and strength coaches looking into this organization and certification. Any other certifications you would recommend? NSPA or NFPT?

    Robert, interesting you should ask! I’ve been working on a blog post cover this for next week.

  6. on June 24th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    i am looking for a rolfer specialist in lugano switzerland.

  7. on September 3rd, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Cool site, love the info.

  8. Zac Marshall said,

    on October 10th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for this list. Very helpful for knowing who’s out there.

  9. Kyle Stull said,

    on November 25th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Hello, I just came across this and thought it was interesting. I wanted to let every know that I am a recognized Corrective Exercise Specialist from NASM located in Keller TX. (just west of Dallas). I love to help anyone that is interested or in need. Please visit my website at http://www.personalprofitness.com and or leave me a message at http://www.thekylestull.com.
    Thank you

  10. Lat Machine said,

    on December 6th, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    The personal trainer list is most helpful. Qualified corrective exercise specialists can be so hard to find and this list is a good place to start if your in the market for one.

  11. Rolfing said,

    on October 27th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    As a certified rolfer I have to go with rolfing when comes to corrective alignment : ) Of course we have a good number of practices that can be very helpful.

    Before anything, I believe it’s required to know as much as possible about any pain and/or injury. The truth of the matter is, no matter how wonderful a discipline is, if not really applicable, no positive results can come from it.

  12. Julie Arroyo said,

    on November 17th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for your blog. If anyone is looking in the area, I’m a certified NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist and train in San Jose and Campbell, CA.

  13. on February 14th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    […] As you can see, there are almost double the amount of muscles that need to be lengthened. Many of them I did not care to list since many of them are smaller muscle groups of those that are still affiliated with the larger muscle groups I have listed above. I have also listed the best exercises for the majority of you. Some people may require additional assistance one-on-one with a professional, such as a physical therapist, or a certified personal trainer in which has training in this particular field and is certified as a “Corrective Exercise Specialist”. […]

  14. Hasselle said,

    on September 5th, 2013 at 11:50 am

    It is true that finding a corrective exercise specialist would help. My friend was having a problem when we were in college and now, I saw her in the department store and so much surprised she reduce weight. I am asking her specialist if I can also get her and be my exercise specialist as well.

  15. on December 10th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Finding the right specialist is huge. You have to work with someone you trust and that is experienced in the area you are working on. Thanks for the post!

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