Is your mobility affecting your movement potential?
Dr. Andreo Spina has me intrigued with his programs named under “Functional Anatomy Systems.” I have heard great things about his courses from colleagues and this past weekend I attended the Functional Range Mobility Specialist Certification (FRC) in San Diego. There were lots of take-aways and “ah-ha” moments but this really added a new layer to learning and thinking about movement, mobility, and stability that makes sense to me in my training world.
So, there is good news to share if you are looking for some answers as to why your body isn’t functioning the way it should be. From an anatomical standpoint, Dr. Spina suggests that the goal of the FRC is to make you a better human.
What are your goals?
Can you achieve them with the body you have without sustaining injury or re-injury?
Can this system give you what you want your body to do?
Can a system based on scientific methods allow you to acquire and maintain functional mobility, articular resilience, health, and longevity?
Every Day You Must Do This…..
Dr. Spina suggests that every day you need to take care of your joints through a system of “Controlled Articular Rotations.” This means moving your joints actively through your limits. From head to toe, or toe to head, I mean as many joints as possible!
If you find pinch points or limited range in a joint you probably have joint limitations and/or restrictions of other connective tissues that are being held back by your central nervous system (CNS). The brain and your central nervous system control your limits and decide if the movement you are asking for is safe. “If your CNS determines that your muscles are not strong enough to control in a particular range then it will not allow you to function in that range,” states Dr. Spina. Our body develops compensatory movements and strategies when we don’t keep things healthy. Through time, injury, history (with sport and environment) our bodies don’t “Work nice!”, he states.
After that, the FRC system dives into what I will sum up as, “Way more than stretching!” His research and years of work practiced give you “Functional Mobility.” Defined as the ability to actively achieve a range of motion to reach your fullest movement potential. Using tension, breathe, and progressive and regressive movements to alter tissue and teach the nervous system it’s ok to let go and open up.
Is this just what you needed to hear? Are you thinking like me “Just how long is this going to take?” Well, how long have you not been doing what you were naturally selected to do? Dr. Spina delves into his evolutionary perspective on health and reminds me that it’s taken 600 years to get to where we are today. The further you stray from the hunter and gatherer lifestyle the further you jeopardize your health.
So in his words, “On a daily basis how do you compensate for not doing what you were selected to do?”
His daily recommendations take 10 minutes minimum once learned. I found myself asking him for suggestions on how to convince my clients to be compliant. “If they don’t do it, I tell them not to come back!”, “Do they own a shoulder?”, Spina asks me in return. It reminded me of a conversation I had last month with one of my clients:
Me: “Don’t pay for good advice and not take it!”
Client: “But I’m so good at this, as evidenced by the many years of unfailingly doing just that. Jesting aside, I understand. I’ll put the effort in.”
Me: “Great! It takes work to get results!”
Although it’s not practical to give you the whole program here I will say the take away can be summed up in pure movement. Own your joints and don’t let up on our most natural anti-inflammatory: movement. Let movement rule you, not restricted movement. The work needed to acquire greater functional mobility is definitely going to take longer than 10 minutes a day. That said there is nothing like owning a few movements to get you started. Feeling and seeing some results will encourage you to keep going. It goes back to your goals and asking yourself how important this investment is to reach them.
What is neutral and perfect posture, and who decided this? Let’s just try and get your joints to function. Do you own your hips? Dr. Spina suggests that if you lack internal rotation of your hips (and shoulders) it’s as good as an MRI telling you that you don’t. Exploring new ranges in a controlled safe environment with small challenges will get them back in action. Remember that once you had movement and it was yours to lose. No matter what age you are this is meant for you because age is no excuse.
In life, we get injured and often after recovering from injury we go right back to what we were doing that got us there in the first place. If you think about this it makes sense as to why you have another injury in the same place, your first injury being the biggest predictor of your next injury. It doesn’t have to be this way, and that’s why you must train to recover from injury and allow your body to adapt to loads that are applied to promote strength. Starting at bodyweight and then adding challenges with bands or equipment over time will respect the principles of training. The body adapts to the imposed demands we place on it so to bullet proof yourself you need to acquire more capacity than any load you put on it. This makes training the road to prevention.
Challenging your body to be strong enough to move well, avoid injury and pain is going to have benefits across the health spectrum. A closing note would be to pick up on a running joke that Dr. Spina carried through the weekend. Be careful you don’t catch diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, and many more ailments by keeping yourself moving every day. Stay ahead of problems by moving every day – “Every Damn Day” he says, and I agree!
Written by: Sheila Hamilton Sept 2017
Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic with Jon McComb on the “Fitness Segment,” which airs live every Thursday at 9:05 am CKNW 980am radio.
Notes and handout from my FRC Course.
Dr. Andreo A. Spina
Dr. Spina holds a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree from McMaster University. He later graduated with summa cum laude and clinic honors from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College as a Doctor of Chiropractic. He then completed a two-year post-graduate fellowship in Sports Sciences. He is the creator of the Functional Range Release (FR)® soft tissue management system, the Functional Range Conditioning (FRC)® mobility development system, and the Kinstretch™ method of movement stretching that are currently used by practitioners world wide as well as a number of professional sports organizations, athletes, and performers. He is a published author, and international speaker on the topics of joint health, movement and mobility development, sports performance, and injury management.