Craig Liebenson The Power of Functional Movement Open Sky Fitness Podcast

Craig Liebenson: The Power of Functional Movement – Ep 132

“It’s so valuable to have a sustainable relationship with your body. Movement is medicine. We don’t need doctors, chiropractors, or physical therapists. What we need is to become more active.” – Dr. Craig Liebenson on how we can recover with the power of  functional movement


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The Power of Functional Movement with Dr. Craig Liebenson

On this week’s episode, chiropractor, Director of L.A. Sports & Spine, professor, and author, Dr. Craig Liebenson joined us to discuss how we can stabilize and strengthen our bodies.

But before Rob got into the interview with Dr. Liebenson, Devon and him wanted to talk about an awesome app that one of our OSF Facebook group members mentioned called Meetup.


Meetup App: Get Motivated to Stay Healthy


If you’re struggling to stay fit and healthy, one great method to try is using the Meetup App. Look up people who are interested in doing similar activities as you such as hiking, biking, yoga, CrossFit etc so you can all workout together.

When you find a group of people who have similar interests as you, it can really boost your motivation. 

Another great thing about the Meetup app is that it’s not just for meeting up to do sports or physical activity. You can also use it to talk to people about topics in your field, about family, or education, etc. It’s a great way to make connections and network with people in your area.


Benefits of Functional Movement Exercises

By now you’ve probably noticed that a lot of exercises that are explained in health magazines or online videos only focus on isolated movements of one problem area. However, what we should be focusing on to help us avoid injuries and physical limitations are functional movement exercises.

Why are functional movement exercises so important for our health? It’s important because all of the different parts of the body are connected. Therefore, you may have to focus on healing one part of the body to be rid of the pain in a totally different area.

Functional movement is about keeping our muscles strong as we go through life. It’s about being able to bend, squat, and kneel without any pain as well as prevent falls, be spry, and move well when we’re older


Investigate and Heal the Root of Your Pain


“Functional training is not a general thing. It’s a very specific thing and is meaningful to the individual. There are different things that a tennis player needs to focus on compared to a runner.” – Dr. Craig Liebenson


Just as our bodies are unique, so are our pains and injuries. To discover the root of your pain or ache, you have to look for hidden skeletons. The better you know your body, the more dependent you will be on yourself to find, treat, and heal any pain or soreness.

If you seek out a chiropractor, physical therapist, and/or personal trainer, they should all be working together and cheer you on during the entire process.

Don’t be discouraged if you get to the point when you no longer believe that there is hope to healing your pain. We can turn our bodies around at any age. To begin feeling more active, just focus on simple movements and getting up during the day.


Recover with Functional Movement


“Everybody is an athlete in my mind. If you have a body, you’re an athlete. I want everyone to develop a sustainable relationship with their body.” – Dr. Craig Liebenson


To begin to heal his patients with functional movement, Dr. Craig Liebenson starts from the very beginning by looking at their chronological pasts. By learning what people have done in the past or their genetic history, he can understand what their body is capable of and what needs to be improved to boost their functional capacity.

With that knowledge, Dr. Liebenson teaches his patients how they should be moving and how to improve their mobility by simply modifying their movements when performing physical activities.


Healing & Strengthening Your Body at Home


To get started with healing your body through functional movement, you don’t even have to leave your home. Just spend some time with yourself  to think about where the root of your pain may be located in your body.

After reviewing your history including pains, injuries, and stresses, focus on where your current pain is located. What have you done before to treat that area and what are your triggers? Triggers can be anything that irritates the body such as a movement or stretch.

By just modifying your body’s movements, you can naturally stabilize and strengthen tissues without any weight lifting. 


Examples of Functional Movement Exercises


“Functional training is first about stability and then strength” – Dr. Craig Liebenson


When it comes to healing the body, don’t do specific isolated movements or spot training. Instead, you want to retrain the body with functional movemnet patterns. 

Examples of functional movements for the knee when you need to stabilize and strengthen it include:

  • Lateral squats
  • Single dead lifts

Basic exercises that can help begin the process of including more functional movement in your workouts include:

  • Hip thrusts
  • Glute bridges


Don’t Just Sit There, Get Up and Move

To have an active body, we need to be continuously focusing on functional movement. The simplest way for us to get started is to stop staying in a sedentary position for so long and just walk around. This is very important if you have a desk job and let’s face it, these days we’re all glued to our computers at work.

Try to find a way by adding movement to your day by either getting a Fitbit to motivate you, buy a standing desk, or take microbreaks during the day just to get up and walk around for awhile.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to be active during the day. 


The Power of Functional Movement Each Day

When we stay inactive during the day, it can lead to other health problems that can be even more difficult to reverse such as obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and more.


About Dr. Craig Liebenson

Craig Liebenson The Power of Functional Movement Open Sky Fitness PodcastDr. Craig Liebenson is the Director of L.A. Sports & Spine which is a pain management, rehabilitation & performance enhancement center providing one on one musculoskeletal care.

Dr. Craig Liebenson’s Career

He is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Chiropractic, Division of Health Sciences at Murdoch University, Perth Australia and consultant for the  the Anglo-European Chiropratic College M.Sc. programs in Chiropractic Rehabilitation. The first ever chiropractic member of the McKenzie Institute (U.S.) Board of Directors he serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals including the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation; the PM&R  Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation; the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy; and Journal of Manual Therapy.

Dr. Liebenson is the first health care provider in California to receive a Certification of Recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) on Achievement of Recognition for Delivery of Quality Back Pain Care. He is actively engaged in ongoing research on the spinal stabilization system as a Visiting Scholar at Pr. Stuart McGill’s Spine Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Waterloo. He began studying with both Dr. Karel Lewit and Pr Vladimir Janda beginning in 1987 and began hosting Pavel Kolar’s programs in the late 1990’s.

Published works by Dr. Craig Liebenson

Dr. Liebenson publishes extensively and is the editor of  the book/DVD Rehabilitation of the Spine: A Practioner’s Manual (2nd ed), 2007, DVD series Yoga & Ergonomics; Core Stability Training; & Functional-Performance Training and the The Functional Training Handbook (2014). He has had books published into Spanish, Greek, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. He worked as team chiropractor for the N.B.A. Los Angeles Clippers from 2005-2009, consulted with the M.L.B. Arizona Diamondbacks, N.F.L. Seattle Seahawks, and Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group. He serves on the Advisory Council for Equinox worldwide luxury fitness gyms.


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What You’ll Hear on This Episode

00:00 Open Sky Fitness Introduction

1:15  Opening comments with Rob and Devon

3:20  Meet Up app: Struggles with Staying Motivated

9:15  Introduction to Craig

10:30  The beginning of Craig’s interest with functional movement

13:00  Changes in the chiropractic world

15:45  How Craig helps his patients

19:30  Who are your clients? Are they mostly athletes or average people?

We have an inactivity crisis- obesity, type 2 diabetes,

23:30  Craig’s definition of functional training

26:20  How do you help patients from your first meeting

31:00  How can we treat pain on our own?

33:30  How inactivity can harm our bodies

34:30 Functional Movement 101

38:10  How can someone create more mobility in their shoulder via the back?

40:00 Easy exercises to stretch and relieve your body

44:00  How we evolved to stand and sit up-right

47:00  The medial collapse of the knee for women explained

50:00  What do women need to be doing for functional training?

51:45  The benefits of functional training

54:40  Craig’s struggles with mobility: what he works on or wants to work on.

59:00  Connect with Craig

1:02:35  Closing comments with Rob and Devon

1:05:00  Open Sky Fitness Closing



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Thanks for listening/reading Episode 132- Dr. Craig Liebenson: The Power of Functional Movement! We hope you have gained more knowledge on how to be a healthier you!

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