Just a weekend ago, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the sold out Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) Mobility Specialist seminar (taught by super bendy and Instagramly-famous Hunter Cook and Dr Ben Bluestein) in Singapore which isn’t too far to fly in from Perth. It caught my attention when my smart friends (Travis Janeway and StrongFirst Team Leader Michael Willie) attended the FRC seminars in the US say about 3 years ago. They said great things about the FRC. And when top sports teams/athletes such as LA Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers and the Westside Barbell powerlifters, and top training facilities such as Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning and Onnit academy are using FRC, you know there is some seriously good content there to be learnt. I mean who in the right frame of mind put their millionaire athletes in something that don’t work.
What is this Functional Range Conditioning seminar about?
FRC mobility specialist certification created by Dr Andreo Spina is not about using the foam roller, massage stick or lacrosse balls to release muscles tension in the body or learning a library of exercises or static stretches. Instead, it teaches thought process, logical application, FRC concept, explains the science of whys and how FRC method is applied.
In short, FRC is about building a human frame that is able to do movement safely and efficiently and getting the body ready for chaos and tissue insults from training in the words of Dr Spina. And this is pretty much what everyone from desk bound working executives, yogi to elite athletes need.
FRC Improves Functional Mobility
The first thing FRC address is mobility which many people get confused with flexibility. It makes a very clear distinction between flexibility and mobility which is very important when it comes to training for specific control of any given joints. This is where FRC gets misinterpreted on that flexibility is useless. This also reminded me of a book that I highly recommend called A Guide to Better Movement by Todd Hargrove who said having too much flexibility increases risk of injuries.
And it’s not even flexibility versus mobility. Flexibility is having a range of movement in a joint which may be 180° (combination of active and passive range). If you can only control 120° of that range which is the active range, that’s your mobility. Mobility is the amount of control in a joint. What that means is the joint will likely falter at the 60° range that you don’t control although you have the flexibility. FRC teaches evidence-based approaches that allow you to gain as much control of the passive range. Most people create too much movement (or flexibility) before control which leads to injuries. Flexibility is definitely not useless as clarified at the seminar. In fact, flexibility is required before you can work on more control over a broader range of movement in a joint. Flexibility needs to come first. But without control or mobility the extra slack or flexibility is useless.
FRC Makes Your Body More Robust
FRC don’t just help improves functional mobility (which I thought at first until I attended the seminar). It actually makes your body more robust and less likely to break down under impact or external load (when you play sports or lifting weights in the gym) via improving tissue load bearing capacities at various articular ranges of motion. This means it’s harder to get injured.
Not only were specific techniques starting from head to toe evaluation (screening for aberrant joint that needs to be referred out), daily joint health and mobility maintenance taught at the seminar, advanced techniques called PALs & RALs were demonstrated to strengthen a particular range of motion via heightening the neural drive. These advanced progressions that you will learn at the FRC were seen on Instagram often looked very impressive and get a lot of LIKEs. Usually, they are not appropriate for most people until they have perform several months of prep/regressions diligently before they get to the impressive level. And obviously people will try to attempt those cool moves and wonder why they can’t do it and make it look pretty.
How Have I Benefitted from the FRC Seminar
Although some of the concepts they teach are not novel, but this is by far the best workshop I attended that put things together in a logical manner that can be applied easily in many scenarios said for a cricketer who needs better shoulder external rotations for throwing or someone who needs to build more bulletproof wrist for handstand. As mentioned, it is unlike most workshop I attended which usually teaches an exercise library. FRC got me to wear a different set of lens, look at joint functions closely, make a better call what is best to apply or what exercise should a person do or avoid while they work through the progressions to improve functional mobility or increase their tissue loading capacities or both. And it got me thinking more about enhancing the joint health and strengthening up the joint more (extending the shelf-life of my joints) not just in myself but people I trained. After all, without joint health or if you have “bad” joints, you can’t really move well and get stronger. Joint health and the ability to move your joints should dictate what exercises you should do.
In short, FRC can be easily applied across a wide range of people whether it is to feel good about having ache and pain-free joints, general mobility or improving performance in sport. It’s definitely a seminar I recommend any serious coaches, personal trainers or physiotherapists who want to be a better professionals in their fields to take if they want to expand their tool boxes and look at things from a different angle and help their clients more.
To learn more about FRC, click https://functionalanatomyseminars.com
If you live in Perth, and want experience or learn more about how FRC method can help you and get in touch, please APPLY HERE.
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