(Creator of Functional Range Release/Assessment and Conditioning)
I have had the pleasure of getting certified in Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and being taught by Dr. Andreo Spina. His concepts and movements have been applied to a number of professional organizations including (but not restricted to) the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA and CrossFit worldwide. I will be speaking about some of his concepts and how to apply mobility the right way to access and own your movement.
Through my time as an athlete and certainly through my time as a manual therapist, I have noticed people seem to use the terms mobility and flexibility interchangeably. Even worse, people tend to apply them to their routines interchangeably as well. I will be discussing in today’s blog post about the main differences between the two and how to use and apply both flexibility and mobility to your lifestyle!
Take that hockey player who wants to play more dynamically, to display more motion or more range of motion. What he needs is to get to these ranges of motion and maximally create neurological control of them. If someone’s going to skate past you and you want to reach back and grab onto them, and you’ve only trained to hold very low intensity postures like in a yoga class, that doesn’t translate into the ability for you to be able to maintain a high amount of neurological output in order to generate a lot of force in those ranges of motion. It’s just not specific for the outcome you require, and that’s a very fundamental physiological law: you have to train for the outcome you desire."
– Dr. Andreo Spina
1. Mobility development: The amount of active, usable motion that one possesses (flexibility).
2. Joint Strength: Strengthening this new ROM gained by mobility development IN the new ranges acquired. This is gained with strength training protocols starting with isometric contractions (contraction without change in length or position under tension) and progressing to concentric/eccentric contractions (contraction with shortening or lengthening under tension).
3. Body Control: By using these new ranges of motion daily you aid in retaining the new ranges of motion, overall joint health and neurological/muscular control. Steps 2 and 3 are essential to turn your danger zone into an asset.
Before: Activity specific dynamic stretching (movement) and cardio (getting warmed up) should always be done prior to any physical activity. This applies to anything from going for a run/gym to playing a sport. Dynamic stretching and warm up allows tissues and joints to prepare for activity in a low impact within your normal range. Some examples of dynamic stretching are arm circles and leg swings.
After: After the workout is when I generally recommend static stretching (no movement) and foam rolling. For the same reasons I mentioned above, stretching before a workout can increase a range your body doesn’t “own”. That being said, static stretches and foam rolling does have its place! It can help with flushing inflammation, aid in recovery and even help avoid the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) following a workout!
Mobility: For newbies to mobility work I always recommend it either at the end of a workout or its own separate day. Often times in the early stages of trying to gain mobility, you will notice compensations and weaknesses you didn’t even know you had. By strengthening in a new range, you can fatigue these weaknesses before larger lifts when they are needed for stability/proper technique. Therefore, in my opinion, even if it is a weak muscle working at 80% capacity, that will still work better than a weak and fatigued muscle working at a 60% capacity. That being said, if you “own” a movement already and you don’t find the mobility work fatiguing, doing mobility routines before training is perfectly acceptable much the same way dynamic stretching is.
For more information on the FRC protocol for gaining/accessing mobility, avoiding your new danger zone and accessing your flexibility gains book with one of our FRC certified clinicians. To book an appointment call 902-404-3668.