Foundation Training for Back Pain & other Muscular Methods & Issues


I’ve had chronic back pain off and on since I  was in high school. Recently my back has been acting up so I wanted to revisit foundation training by Eric Goodman and this is what I found. Previously, I had read both of Eric’s books many years ago but stopped doing his foundation exercises and now I’m paying the painful price. So don’t make the mistake that I made and I’m going to try to get off my lazy ass in the morning and start my day with foundation training. BTW – the types of therapeutic bodywork that I do work very well with foundation.

I try to do these exercises every morning-


Foundation Training, developed by Dr. Eric Goodman, is a movement-based program designed to alleviate back pain, improve posture, and enhance overall physical performance. The core principle of Foundation Training is to strengthen the posterior chain of muscles, which includes the muscles running along the back of the body, such as the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles. Here’s an overview of the science, research, and benefits behind Foundation Training, particularly for low back pain.

The Science Behind Foundation Training

  1. Focus on the Posterior Chain:
    • The posterior chain muscles play a crucial role in supporting the spine and maintaining proper posture.
    • Foundation Training emphasizes strengthening these muscles to reduce the load on the spine and improve alignment.
  2. Decompression Breathing:
    • This technique involves deep diaphragmatic breathing that expands the rib cage and lengthens the spine.
    • Decompression breathing helps alleviate pressure on the intervertebral discs and can provide relief from back pain.
  3. Hinging at the Hips:
    • Proper hip hinging ensures that the movement is driven by the hips rather than the lower back, reducing strain on the lumbar spine.
    • This technique helps retrain the body to move more efficiently and prevent back injuries.
  4. Integration of Functional Movements:
    • Foundation Training incorporates movements that mimic daily activities, promoting better functional movement patterns.
    • This approach helps in transferring the benefits of the exercises to real-life scenarios, enhancing overall mobility and reducing pain.

Research on Foundation Training

While specific studies on Foundation Training itself are limited, there is substantial evidence supporting the principles it is based on:

  1. Posterior Chain Strengthening:
    • Research indicates that strengthening the posterior chain muscles can significantly reduce lower back pain and improve function.
    • A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that exercises targeting the posterior chain were effective in reducing chronic low back pain.
  2. Core Stability and Back Pain:
    • Core stability exercises, which are a part of Foundation Training, have been shown to reduce back pain and improve physical performance.
    • A meta-analysis published in Spine concluded that core stabilization exercises are effective in treating chronic low back pain.
  3. Hip Hinging and Functional Movement:
    • Studies have shown that proper hip hinging techniques can reduce the risk of back injuries and improve movement efficiency.
    • Functional movement training, which includes exercises like those in Foundation Training, has been shown to enhance overall physical performance and reduce injury risk.

Benefits of Foundation Training for Low Back Pain

  1. Pain Relief:
    • Foundation Training can provide significant relief from chronic low back pain by strengthening supportive muscles and improving posture.
    • The exercises help reduce muscle imbalances and alleviate stress on the lumbar spine.
  2. Improved Posture:
    • The focus on strengthening the posterior chain and core muscles helps improve overall posture, reducing the risk of developing postural issues that can lead to back pain.
    • Better posture also helps in maintaining proper alignment of the spine and reducing unnecessary strain.
  3. Enhanced Mobility and Flexibility:
    • Foundation Training promotes better flexibility and mobility through functional movements and stretches.
    • Improved flexibility in the hips and hamstrings can reduce the likelihood of back pain and enhance overall movement quality.
  4. Injury Prevention:
    • By teaching proper movement patterns and strengthening key muscle groups, Foundation Training helps prevent injuries, particularly those related to the lower back.
    • The emphasis on hip hinging and decompression breathing can help individuals perform daily activities more safely and effectively.
  5. Holistic Approach:
    • Foundation Training offers a holistic approach to managing and preventing back pain, focusing on overall physical health and well-being.
    • The program encourages consistency and gradual progress, making it accessible to individuals of all fitness levels.


Foundation Training by Dr. Eric Goodman is a scientifically grounded program that offers a range of benefits for individuals suffering from low back pain. By focusing on strengthening the posterior chain, promoting proper movement patterns, and improving overall posture, Foundation Training can provide significant pain relief, enhance mobility, and reduce the risk of future injuries. While specific research on Foundation Training is still emerging, the principles it is based on are well-supported by existing scientific literature on back pain and functional movement.






 The McGill Method