NASM-CPT Podcast: Difference Between Medical & Corrective Exercise

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
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In this episode, Host Rick Richey talks with his cousin Brian Richey about medical exercise and fitness, and more specifically, how it differs from corrective exercise. They both explore a wide range of nuances about the subject, and it makes for a highly informative 45-minute exploration of both disciplines.

Below are some (but definitely not all) of the key takeways of the episode:

  • A Medical Exercise Specialist specifically handles and manages medical conditions through exercise. This means that a Medical Exercise Specialist is less a generalist in corrective movements - like a CES - and more so focused only on remedial exercise regarding certain medical conditions.
  • Brian stresses the importance of staying in your lane and doing no further harm to clients with existing medical conditions. This requires a deep understanding of the medical conditions that are present.
  • Brian sees a lot of emphasis on mobility without the necessary stability work to balance it out. Hyper-focusing on one without the other will almost always lead to imbalances. 
  • As we age, often our stability muscles slowly atrophy. We may feel stronger or the same level of strength, but our Central Nervous System down-regulates (or decreases the cellular quantity of a given muscle) if we don't do enough stability work. 
  • When training a client with hypertension or diabetes, make sure you are monitoring their blood pressure and glucose levels (respectively) throughout the training session.

For more great information on the subject of medical exercise, tune into the show.

Rick Richey is a NASM-CPT, CES, PES, and Master Trainer.

Brian Richey is a Medical Exercise specialist who owns Fit 4 Life DC. He has been an educator who has traveled around the world for the last 10 years, teaching the important principles of medical exercise at conferences and events alike. 


An important idea that circulates throughout this talk with the Rick and Brian Richey is that you have to know what you don't know to be a truly effective and safe exercise professional.

So, to minimize injury as a corrective exercise specialist, you cannot just expect your clients to go through a momentary period of injury and achey joints until they become strong enough to adapt to the load.

As a medical exercise specialist, you have stay in your lane and only prescribe the best possible exercises for the given condition. This requires a highly specialized approach and one that needs to factor in the unique phyisiological and biomechanical nature of any given medical condition.

Another subject that is brought up is the importance of stability work to balance out other components of training. After all, clients won't be as strong or mobile without developed stabilizer muscles - and definitely not as safe to perform movements. 

This is just some of the many great talking points within the chat. Watch below or listen on your favorite platform for the rest!

KEy Resources On Corrective exercise

If you want a deeper dive into the power of corrective exercise, be sure to check out our highly informative Guide to the Corrective Exercise Continuum

Another great corrective exercise resource can be found here, for optimizing thoraic spine mobility.

Last, but not least, we have a free mini course on stretching that can serve as a great introduction to corrective exercise as a whole. 

if you like what you read and heard, subscribe to the podcast!

The Author

National Academy of Sports Medicine

National Academy of Sports Medicine

Since 1987 the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has been the global leader in delivering evidence-based certifications and advanced specializations to health and fitness professionals. Our products and services are scientifically and clinically proven. They are revered and utilized by leading brands and programs around the world and have launched thousands of successful careers.


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