Constantly developing and improving our skills and knowledge is something every health practitioner should be striving for. Therefore I did just that by becoming a Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist, or FRCms. The way in which I want to work with people and believe I can help you the most was by getting certified as an FRC mobility specialist. But what does that mean for you and what more do I bring to the table now? Well, let us dive a little bit into it.
Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist
What is functional range conditioning and why do I get to call myself a mobility specialist, FRCms? Functional range conditioning is a part of the Functional Range System created by Dr. Andreo Spina with help of a few other doctors and insightful individuals. They created a system based on the latest scientific finding regarding human anatomy, physiology of stretching, and strength training. This system takes different sources of knowledge and puts them into one, to create one optimal mobility and strength training system.
What you learn in this course is not your everyday flexibility and strength training routine. You learn why you have to integrate both for purpose of improving your mobility. I got educated on and expanded my knowledge about:
- BioFlow Anatomy,
- Articular Function,
- Bio Mechanics,
- Physiology of Stretching
- Flow physiology.
Furthermore we were taught different aspects of training and assessment:
- What are proper moving patterns
- What are our body’s compensatory mechanisms for lack of mobility
- Mobility is strength training
- How to instruct and how to use different mobility exercises
What Is Mobility Training?
When I mention the word mobility, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Probably stretching or being flexible. Maybe you even think of yoga. But mobility is so much more than boring static stretching or just moving your joints around in different motions. There is as well big difference between mobility and flexibility. How is there a difference between those two terms you may think?
Flexibility is being able to get into a certain position passively. You can think of your regular static stretching or when you have someone help you out by stretching you further into positions.
Mobility on the other hand is your ability to actively control your passive ranges of motion. Therefore you can be flexible but lack mobility which can lead to different issues, usually some kind of body imbalance which leads to pain. These imbalances which lead to pain usually come from you not being able to come into a different position because of a lack of flexibility and lack of body control in the accessible ranges.
To improve your mobility you need to improve your joint space, call it flexibility, and joint control and bearing capacity, call it strength. This means that for you to be able to move freely and painlessly, being more mobile, you need to improve flexibility and strength together.
How To Improve Mobility With Functional Range Conditioning?
In the seminar and certification acquiring process we were taught different techniques of how to work with clients’ mobility and improve it. The information which we were provided with is complicated, takes time to learn, and has to be implemented in the correct manner. That is why I will only provide you with a brief summary of two main subjects: CARs & PAILs and RAILs.
Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)
When you do these motions, it appears as though you are merely rotating your joints in circles. When done deliberately, it may be a valuable evaluation of how your body’s joints are performing on that particular day and at that particular moment. Additionally, it can be utilized to maintain and enhance joint range of motion as well as to postpone or even stop the development of osteoarthrosis.
When doing CARs, you stabilize the rest of your body while trapping air in your lower abdomen to cause irradiation (all other joints). The goal is for a joint to move independently as you gently rotate it to the limit of its range (pain-free). You want to make the circle bigger, expand it, or strive to make the rotation larger with each rep.
CARs can be performed with different purposes depending on the intensity with which you are performing them. They can be done as a morning mobility routine, warm up, or a part of your strength training.
There are many levels to this; for instance, Level 1 of the morning ritual should be performed daily at an intensity of 30 to 40%.
The approach of Levels 2 and 3 is extremely different; it resembles a 1RM in weightlifting. With increased irradiation and more utilization of the central nervous system (CNS), it requires significantly more capacity to be performed safely.
Progressive Angular Isometric Loading (PAILs) & Regressive Angular Isometric Loading (RAILs)
In order to increase range of motion (ROM) and attempt to get stronger at that end range, PAILs mix stretching with isometric loading at progressive (pushing) angles.
To strengthen tissue at the closed angles, RAILs combine stretching with isometric loading at regressive (pulling) angles.
In order to do this, one technique is to stand in front of a bench or box, lay your foot on it as if you were ready to perform a simple hamstring stretch, lean into it, and gradually increase the tension by pushing your foot onto the surface until you reach your maximum safe effort. There should be significant hamstring activation.
Then, gradually move the foot away from the ground to generate pressure on the quadriceps and hip flexors on the side of the leg with the closed angle, hold, and then return to a passive stretch. You will feel the cramps, as your tissue is not used to working in those ranges.
Why Should You Use Functional Range Conditioning?
Let’s consider this from the viewpoint of a gymgoer. When we exercise, we break the muscular tissue. The beautiful thing about the human body is that with proper food and sleep, you heal by laying down new and better tissue.
Different kinds of connective tissue include tendons and ligaments. If they sustain an injury, they heal as well, but it may take weeks or months to feel 100% again, demanding physiotherapy and other treatments, as opposed to the usual 2-4 days. This is a result of decreased blood flow through the tendons and ligaments. It may be restored to normal function or even better with the appropriate input, but in order to avoid further damage, you must follow your physiotherapist’s instructions and perform your exercises.
Bone and cartilage are once more distinct. Some joint spaces lack their own source of nourishment because they have very little to no vascularity or blood flow.
That is why you need to move. Movement is the only way with which you can maintain space around your joints. When we don’t move our body loses those ranges of motion as it doesn’t need them in everyday life. Therefore you lose space around your joints.
As a result, when we move our joint through its full range of motion, the pressure shift brought on by tissues moving near one another can enhance the joint’s functionality and general health.
Why Did I Choose Functional Range Conditioning?
I believe that we humans are able to live a pretty good and pain-free life if we are moving constantly. I don’t know if it’s only me but on the days that I am not moving as much and am sitting around the desk, my body is feeling rigid and frail by the end of it. This is a past professional athlete, a healthy guy in his 20s speaking. I am not supposed to feel like this, nor should you. No matter your age and occupation. Our body has the capacity to heal itself. But there are no quick fixes, which everybody usually is looking after.
I wanted to increase my knowledge about mobility training and be a figure who will put you in the right way of your body feeling youthful and functioning to its maximal capacity again. From working with professional athletes to desk workers. I want to provide you with value.
Becoming a Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist is one of the steps I took towards that.