Editor’s Note: Physical therapist Gina Hahn is offering a series of six one-hour classes to get rehab patients from feeling better to sustained physical activity. The program introduces patients to the six functional movement patterns — squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, carry — that all human bodies perform daily so that people completing rehab can avoid re-injury doing everyday activities.

About the Class

Who: Patients who have successfully completed a Capitol Rehab of Arlington rehabilitation program, and are cleared to start the program.

What: Six-one-hour functional movement classes that serve as a bridge between therapy and exercise.

Where: Capitol Rehab of Arlington

When: Tuesdays, 6:00-7:00 am (starts Sept. 18)

Rate: $360 for six classes

The human body is a kinetic chain, each joint is linked to the next through a maze of soft tissue and connective tissue. When joints or soft tissues are stiff, unstable, or weak, everyday movements are performed improperly, and the body takes “short cuts” to compensate. This is what most often leads to pain and/or injury.

To help reduce the risk of injury, it is imperative to understand how to participate in self-care once you know what areas you need to address. It could be as simple as what you do on a daily basis, things like how you bend over the sink to wash your face, how you crouch down to play with your kids, how you pick up and carry your groceries. Fostering self-awareness and self discipline to move through our environment with purpose will help individuals to get out of pain faster and live pain-free longer.

My new six one-hour functional movement classes build on one another week by week so that each person returning to full activity is able to perform standard movement patterns with increasing strength and correct structure. The six-week class will help you to build self-awareness, to assess and correct movement patterns, and to learn sustainable strength training methods so that your body is more resilient to the repetitive stress of your daily life.

How is this different than working with a personal trainer? Together we’re bridging the gap between therapy and exercise, a frequently overlooked step in the world of rehab. Often, we see patients who tolerate low-level rehab exercises, but then go out into the “real world” to try and navigate mass movements encountered in the gym, and end up right back in rehab.

This happens because once patients leave the sterile, therapy setting — once they’ve mastered the “Bird Dog” or “Side Bridge” — they return to their daily routines and resume bad patterns.

I help you identify improper movement patterns, make the necessary corrections, and save you from future injury, which could unknowingly occur during a regular exercise program. You get the tools and self-awareness to move into everyday life with all its weights, strains, and bends.

Human biology and anatomy allow us to move in certain patterns that maximize muscular tension, stability, and mobility. These six foundational movement patterns are: squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull, and carry.  

Not all exercises that mimic these patterns are right for everybody. For example, starting with the wrong squat variation for your body type, skill level, and injury history can result in more aches and pains. Training these patterns, which can include some isolated muscle training, is the most effective and sustainable way to build strength and live pain-free.

The program is designed to build resilient bodies, and we will look at whether patients can do a squat with good alignment (including knowing what good alignment means); whether they can do a squat with good alignment without pain; whether they can do a single leg squat on each leg without losing balance. Even if you are experiencing shoulder or neck pain, it is important to determine how your lower leg functions because it impacts how your upper body functions, and vice versa.

Whether your chief complaint is back pain, neck stiffness, tight hips, or weak ankles, safe and sustainable exercise or strength-training builds resilience in your body to participate in your own life.

The classes will begin September 18, every Tuesday at 6:00 a.m., for six weeks. When you are cleared for recovery, you can enroll in each six-week program for $360. Please contact 703-527-5492 to sign up.