What is FRC?
Functional Range Conditioning (or FRC), is a trademarked system of mobility and joint control training which, unlike many current systems, is based on scientific principles and research.
Mobility – defined as the extent of controllable flexibility across articulations (flexibility plus strength), refers to the amount of USABLE motion that one possesses.
In essence, this invaluable, and innovative training system improves the ability to control and move ones own body.
How does FRC work?
There are 3 main goals when training using the FRC system and all are closely interrelated and acquired simultaneously:
- Mobility Development
- Joint Strength
- Body Control
Mobility – refers to the amount of active, usable motion that one possesses. The more mobile a person has, the more they are able to maximize their movement potential safely, efficiently, and effectively.
Joint Strength – While improving mobility and movement potential, the FRC system also acts to bullet-proof (or safe-guard) your joints so that movement can be executed safely.
Body Control – Training with FRC improves the function of your nervous system. This leads to a reduction of pain and injury, joint health and longevity, as well as an increased ability to move freely and easily.
FRC works by systematically expanding the body’s range of motion, while simultaneously teaching the nervous system how to control the newly acquired ranges.
As our ability to generate force across the joint lessens over time and lack of use, we lose the ability to actively control the range of motion.
Thus these long, and short ranges are only accessible to us via passive means and are therefore essentially useless from a functional movement perspective.
Further, because the longer and shorter ranges are not utilized, the joint tissues never develop the ability to absorb loads at those ranges leaving them susceptible to injury.
Through specific, and safe training methods we are able to capture passive ranges of motion and convert them into usable, active ranges.
In addition, during the development of improved mobility, the system ensures the simultaneous development of tissue strength and resilience in the newly acquired ranges.
The Benefits of FRC:
Mobility & Flexibility
Flexibility can be defined as the amount of passive movement available across an articulation. This range of motion is passive in that the body in unable to achieve it without the help of an externally induced force.
Despite the historically overwhelming focus on its acquisition in health and fitness realms — flexibility in and of itself, does not improve function, or human movement — as it represents joint positions that the nervous system is unable to control.
Mobility on the other hand, (defined as flexibility plus control), represents the amount of usable motion across an articulation under the direct control of the central and peripheral nervous system.
It is the main focus of FRC to both improve flexibility, as well as to simultaneously teach the nervous system how to control the newly acquired ranges.
Further, the FRC system provides strategies not only for the development of control, but also for developing the ability to generate power, strength, and co-ordination, in said ranges.
All of the aforementioned results allow any new ranges of motion to be integrated and utilized in functional movement patterning.
Well known to the strength and conditioning community are the physiological benefits of physical training on the muscular system.
However, the benefits can and should far exceed enhancements of this one tissue. Progressive loading also leads to cellular adaptations in the connective tissues of the body.
Connective tissue — one of the four types of human biological tissues — includes the following types: Fascia, bone, ligaments, capsules, tendons, vessels and 80% of nerves.
With every bout of physical conditioning, each of the aforementioned tissues is affected, a fact forgotten by the majority of health and training professionals.
With proper programming, and keeping this concept in mind, the benefits of training can and should be inclusive of each of the tissues on this list.
The FRC system considers each of these subtypes as targets during training and ensures the attainment beneficial tissue adaptations and strength in each.
FRC thus improves tissue quality and resilience in ALL of the components making up the joint complex.
Articular Health & Longevity
The benefits of utilizing the Functional Range Conditioning mobility development system extend beyond athletic development, rehabilitative, and performance goals.
In the process of developing mobility, all articular connective tissue components are strengthened, and neurological control of said tissues enhanced.
These are two factors well known in the scientific literature to enhance joint health, prevent injury, and improve longevity.
FRC has therefore been safely, and effectively utilized with several patient populations and ages to preserve movement and function, optimize joint health, and slow the progression of the degenerative process.
Some of the components of the system — Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) for example — were specifically created with this goal in mind.
As FRC improves one’s mobility by increasing the functional ranges of motion across articulation, it allows improved utilization of potential to kinetic energy transfers.
Put another way — the more active motion that can be achieved across a joint, the more potential there is to store potential energy during a lengthening cycle, which can then be transferred into usable force during a shortening cycle.
Thus improvements in mobility unlock greater ranges of motion with which to develop force output.
Improved mobility is also a vital component of agility — defined as the ability to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration.
Agility can be thought of as utilization of ones mobility. Thus — just as with mobility itself — the acquisition of agility is a goal common to all sports and functional activities.
Rehabilitation and Prevention
Utilization of Functional Range Conditioning is not limited to performance enhancement. Many of the techniques inherent to FRC were originally developed for utilization in a clinical setting for injury rehabilitation and prevention.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you…