Both myself, Erkan (of Evolution Rehab) and our friend Keshava Raghuveer have just had the pleasure of taking part in a very enjoyable and comprehensive Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) seminar taught by Andreo Spina and Dewey Nielsen.
The course involved 2 days of a detailed evidence based interpretation of a form of “Mobility Training” whereby to just call it as such, really doesn’t do justice to the value of the system or the material that had been taught! Here is my interpretation following the 2 day course:
In an environment whereby the nature of many current movement based seminar courses being taught today provide training/rehabilitation strategies involving increasing complexity and global body movements, FRC brings movement training back to a more simple yet fundamentally important concept. The underlying principle behind FRC asks the question of whether an individual possesses complete articular control of the joints in their body.
Andreo then proceeds to spend the following 2 days of the course providing a scientific and practical explanation of what complete articular control essentially means. Within the course, you discover that the health of the joints in your body (and their related tissues) is multifaceted and involves so much more than a question of gross strength, simple flexibility or good ranges of movement. It also involves the ability for your neuromuscular system to have the capacity to volitionally move through, hold and control your joints at their various end ranges of motion.
If ,during the course, you discover that you don’t have the desired range and control within a particular joint in your body (believe me you will find many!!!!), Andreo then teaches you a systematic method to not only restore the inadequate joint range and neuromuscular control, but he also shows you how to, over time, safely condition your joints (and their related tissues) to be able to resist and handle forces at those end ranges of movement. So, if god forbid, you do ever roll onto the edge of your ankle whilst running, the tissues in your ankle will be more resilient to mitigating against potential damage to the joint and its related tissues.
The key point here that any individual should really take note of, is the phrase “Over time!” In a multimedia world of youtube and vimeo, too many people have been sucked into the glamour of feats of breathtaking performance and fancy moves, without any consideration towards the amount of hard work and effort that was required to achieve the movement in the first place. Through scientific explanation Andreo underlines the reality that in order to affect positive, long lasting mobility and tissue adaptation in your body, the process of change requires repetition of the stimulus and good quality work over a period of time that is long enough for the body to be able to physiologically enact changes in the tissues themselves.
“IN ORDER TO GAIN ARTICULAR INTER-DEPENDANCE, ONE MUST FIRST ACQUIRE SUFFICIENT ARTICULAR INDEPENDENCE.”
Another concept brought to the fore in the FRC process is the injury risk that pertains to performing repetitive multi-joint actions without prior acquisition of articular control of the joints involved within the movement tasks. The premise is simple, if one of the joints within a multi-joint action lacks the requisite range and control required for the task, the force demands of that task are passed onto another joint along the movement chain. This is something that may not be particularly desirable as the joints upon which the resultant forces are directed towards may not be structurally suited to handling them.
As a system of learning, FRC is a concept which I both enjoyed and respected as it wasn’t based upon learning a specific method of training but more about understanding a principle. And it is with the principles of FRC that I am able to seamlessly slot the principles into any strength conditioning or rehabilitation program that I provide for my patients.
To paraphrase Mr Spina himself, the goal of FRC is to, “JUST MAKE STUFF WORK NICE!” and if you make all the joints in your body work nice, you have a pretty solid foundation for both maintaining and continuing your movement health.