Foundation Training: The Art of the Injury-Proof Athlete

At one of his meetups in San Francisco, I was able to chat with Kona veteran and fitness guru Ben Greenfield about combating injuries. Immediately he brought-up the book Foundation Training, in which he advocates as a solid tool to become a more resilient and injury-free athlete.

Coupled with a forward written by Lance Armstrong, I was compelled to give Foundation Training a try. I was sold on its potential after experimenting with a couple exercises.

Foundation Training

Foundation Training made me feel more grounded, poised, and confident to train.

More than just the next fitness fad, Foundation Training is quickly becoming a proliferated movement practice, and for good reason. It’s a logical answer to many common questions that endurance athletes ask training for athletes

How can I become a more injury-proof athlete? 
Foundation Training.

What can I do increase speed and power/wattage?
Foundation Training.

What forms of strength training are best for endurance athletes?
Foundation Training.

You may be thinking I am obsessed with Foundation Training.

While I do regularly practice several of the Foundation Training exercises, it’s the overall simplicity and effectiveness of the movements that make them worth exploring.

A Quick Briefing on Foundation Training

The creator, Dr. Eric Goodman, would cringe if you called it Yoga. Yet Foundation Training is a little like Yoga in ways that involve no weights, static poses, focused energy, and conscious breathing.

From the website, Foundation Training is:

“(an) innovative movement improvement program designed specifically to help you roll back the damage done and, more importantly, to help you become that pain-free and more powerful person we all aspire to be.”

If you want a thorough introduction to Foundation Training, check out the video below, or dive into some of the exercises below.

Foundation Training Redefines “Core” Strengthening

When most of us think of strengthening “the core”, we often think about working the abdominal muscles. Yet, the abs are just one of many muscles groups that define the training founder exercise

While the abdominals are often the most commonly trained part of the midsection, there are other core muscles that contribute to athletic performance.

As endurance athletes, we need to dedicate time strengthening muscles surrounding the spine, such as the erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, iliopsoas, iliacus, etc. This is where Foundation Training comes into play (which also strengthens muscles of the hips, butt, and legs.)

Explore Foundation Training Exercises

Foundation Training activates and strengthens primary muscles groups that are central to triathlon performance. Many of the exercises serve as perfect pre-run/ride warm-ups as they activate and engage the big engines of the body.

woodpecker foundation training exercise

The “Woodpecker” is one of my favorite Foundation Training exercises to activate the glutes, hips, and midsection before running and cycling.

Here’s a short video where Dr. Eric Goodman explains a couple of the Foundation Training exercises. This video focuses on the “Founder” exercise, a great introduction to the training.

Perhaps you’d like to delve into this faster paced workout that teaches you a number of other great exercises:

What’s beautiful about Foundation Training is that it caters to all walks of like, athletes and non-athletes alike. I highly suggest getting the book and keeping it your health and wellness library.

foundation training book

I will leave you with one last bit from Foundation Training founder, Dr. Eric Goodman. Definitely worth a watch, see his solid TED talk at TEDxAmericanRiviera The Unexpected Physical Consequences Of Technology.

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Tyler Tafelsky
Tyler Tafelsky is an experimental athlete seeking effective ways to actualize greater power, speed, and endurance. Tyler covers topics ranging from strength training, mobility, and injury-recovery to triathlon coaching, nutrition, and product reviews.

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