Core Principle 3: Protect. Correct. Develop.


This is another principle adopted from training within the Functional Movement Systems. This principle reminds us of the Hippocratic Oath - "First, Do No Harm" which is the ethical principle that we as health & fitness professionals have to honor.  "Protect. Correct. Develop" helps us not to forget this as we help others improve their physical abilities. 

We believe that in order to guide people toward wellness we first need to "Protect": play defense or minimize potential environmental "negatives". Then we'll "Correct" or help them reconnect to movement fundamentals while progressively "Developing" their strength & endurance.   


In preventative medicine we investigate potential negatives in the client's lifestyle before prescribing positives such as, stretches & exercises. The negatives are managed first because they can completely undermine the positives.

If you're an athlete who sleeps 3-4 hours a night and are dehydrated, just doing corrective exercises & manual therapy will provide short term results at best. First, the environment has to be changed to establish the foundation for long term results. For more information on this topic read: "Pain to Wellness: Is It You or Your Environment?"


Another example is of an avid cyclist with a chief complaint of knee pain. The client believed the knee pain was due to a tight quad and hip, which has been shown to correlate to his complaint.  When asked about the last time the client had a bike fitting, I received a puzzled look.

"I don't know... years ago..." 

I recommended starting there first. A week later he said his knee symptoms improved by 50%. This gave us momentum as we tackled the other 50% by addressing his mobility limitations via manual therapy & corrective exercise.

If we hadn't protected this cyclist from the improper bike fitting early on, I'm not confident that our corrective strategies would have delivered the same results.

We all have a tendency to blame our body rather than pointing our finger at our environment & lifestyle habits.

Movement is a behavior, its a product of what we repetitively do. When you are trying to learn new movements, sometimes you have to eliminate or modify current habits or activities.  Like the saying goes,

"A good offense starts with a solid defense"

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Correcting the limitations found in screening can be a combination of manual therapy & corrective exercise. The founder of the FMS system, Gray Cook, makes a great analogy for us:

"Think of corrective exercise as the nutritional equivalent of supplements."

Once the movement screen has done its job at identifying your weakest link & once we've discussed potential negatives to modify & minimize, then we can dive into corrective strategies.

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Think of it this way. When you're found to be vitamin D deficient, yes you're prescribed vitamin D supplementation but you're also educated on the whole foods that provide you with a natural dose of vitamin D.

When you're found to have tight hamstrings, we'll prescribe you mobility & corrective exercise supplements. We also want to teach you a natural human movement that requires hamstring mobility, like a hip hinge - an essential component of lifting properly.

The goal is never to create a diet of just pure supplements. Likewise, it is not our intent to create an entire workout program based on corrective exercises. Think of these as just temporary detours to get your basic movement patterns back to an acceptable qualitative minimum. 

                The Movement Pyramid

               The Movement Pyramid


The focus here is developing "Movement Capacity" or the second tier of The Movement Pyramid. This is discussed in further detail in Core Principle 2

Once we've categorized your movement patterns into "able" & "unable" we can then start the exercise selection process to customize a program that helps you get strong and fit without sacrificing basic mobility, for example. 

We challenge the movements patterns that you are able to do with intelligent exposure and progression of load (weight) and volume (sets & reps). At the same time we provide you with corrective strategies for the movement patterns you're unable to do to help you access those patterns easier. We might even super-set the two. 

This is how we begin to blend "Correct. Develop" to make training more fun and exciting. Many people who begin the "corrective exercise" journey (including myself when I first learned this stuff) think you either Correct or you Develop and you have to always do one before the other. That's not necessarily the case. It doesn't have to be an ultimatum. They can reinforce each other.   

Some clients appreciate a "Phase I" vs. "Phase II" break down of this principle.   

Some clients appreciate a "Phase I" vs. "Phase II" break down of this principle.   

The ultimate goal here is to help guide and teach you about your strengths and your weak links to carry out Core Principle 1: Learn. Move. Grow. If you're willing to learn, move, and grow this will help you train smarter and harder while also minimizing your risk of injury. 


For more information about The Functional Movement Systems please visit

Ramez Antoun