A couple weeks ago, I ordered the book "Foundation: Redefine Your Core…" by Eric Goodman and Peter Park. The book's foreword is by Lance Armstrong, and the book has received a lot of positive press.
I've been doing the exercises for almost two weeks, and I will say that there is something very valuable about this training. The book lays out the details about how the posterior chain ends up being weakened in the modern lifestyle. The objective of the Foundation poses is to restore strength to these areas. The main exercise, "The Founder" is shown above.
The good news first. I've only been doing a couple of the exercises, and they really seem to be effective. I feel stronger doing my day-to-day movement, and especially during running. I'd say the moves are even semi-addictive because the more you do them, the better you feel.
The bad news: while the poses seem to effectively work the muscles, after a while I feel the negative effects on the spine. In this news article, it mentions Esther Gokhale's take on the Foundation exercises:
"While she doesn’t like some facets of Foundation Roots–Gokhale thinks the back arching they teach will ultimately strain spinal nerves and discs, and that they should focus more on abdominal and back muscles equally–she says its many yoga-derived full body poses are very effective."
I've found this to be exactly true in my experience.
Over the last few days, I've tried to eliminate the troublesome parts of these moves while keeping the beneficial parts. I've also made a Paleo movement connection as to why these movements may be so effective.
Go to the 2-minute mark of the above video. What does this pose look like? The bottom of a simple deadlift! But the key is that this is the proper form of the deadlift, a la Starting Strength. Here's the deadlift diagram from Starting Strength:
Where I think Foundation goes wrong is that they advocate arching the back, as shown in the video. Interestingly, right in Starting Strength it has a picture of what not to do with the back during the deadlift. Yet this is exactly what the non-weighted Foundation poses recommend. This is the big problem in my view – one that Esther saw right away.
Overall then, I would say Foundation training is a mixed bag. I would recommend taking the poses and adapting them to proper posture, as discussed in Starting Strength and Esther Gokhale's book. Still, I think there are lots of benefits to be had from the poses with the proper alterations.