Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and how PP utilizes it

Warm-ups We Use -

As we talked about last blog post, here at Powell Performance we are big believers in the basics and doing them well, then incorporating well thought out systems we come across. We research, get certified in and then implement with our own training and lifestyles. Finally after we feel it is safe, beneficial and worth the time cost associated we utilize a small test group of mature and educated athletes and then if they implement and use it well we make it a large scale approach to how we coach and program. RPR®, DNS® and FRC® are a few of those things that we can attest over many months and utilization with many athletes and our own training they meet all the criteria. With that being said let’s move on to blog post #2 - FRC® and more specifically their CARS.

What is FRC & Why does PP use it?

FRC stands for Functional Range Conditioning. This can be defined as a system of training which applies scientific methods to expanding usable and functional ranges of motion (ROM). Specifically it works to improve mobility, the athlete’s ability to CONTROL a ROM. The course instructors make sure to hammer home the idea that ROM means nothing if you aren’t strong in that range and able to control yourself under a load there.

This style of pre-habilitation and rehabilitation also predicates itself on the idea that over time the body has learned to not move “as a human” but in different segmented parts due to our lack of daily activities, movements and human-esque living. The course, specifically the CARS (Controlled Articular Rotations), are designed to help a person get back into ranges of motion that they are likely missing, while also building stability and strength there. While the person is moving through these ranges of motion they are working to irradiate 10-30% of their strength so that there are isometric contractions and tension being created the entire time. This will help build strength, balance and stability in these new ranges of motion (ROM) and allow for a more controlled and better athlete. As the creator Andre Spinosa said when we attended the course “The difference between you and professional athletes is they have the ability to take more load and more of a beating”. FRC drills will allow you to take more loading and be more resilient while increasing joint health which should allow for safer and more effective training.

What we at Powell Performance love about these movements, training and using it for a warm-up and rehabilitation standpoint is that it truly teaches you to be aware of your body in space (kinesthetic awareness). It also helps many people to re-establish strength and stability to ROM they may not have been for a long time, without much stress. It is a great way to facilitate a total body warm-up simply by going through the CARS for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. Once a PP athlete becomes familiar with these movements and wants more challenging ROM work we will then work further into the FRC process and start using things like PALS and RALS. These drills now focus on Progressing (PALS) and Regressing (RALS) Angular Loading. This means that we will either put you into greater ranges of motion, progressing you into more difficult positions or we will regress you into smaller ROM that will allow us to load the athlete in multiple ways. Some of the most common things here are passive holds.

The other common next step after CARS are PAILS/RAILS, very similar to the PALS/RALS we just discussed but now the exercises are adding more isometric holds in these new ROM that the we just created in the athlete. Examples include getting into a new ROM and then pushing with maximal tension into an isometric hold, after holding for a prescribed time relaxing and introducing an even deeper ROM that the athlete wasn’t able to get into before. These are all great ways to help athletes improve mobility and stability at the same time.

How does FRC work?

It works due to its ability to put people into proper positions and ROM that will lead to increased performance and recovery. This slowly building into new positions and using not only motion, but isometric holds, irradiation and strengthening is what separates it from many other disciplines like yoga, pilates etc. While those are all great forms of recovery and help with ROM, the ability to create strength and stability in those positions is not as effective as FRC. That is why is a great tool to implement with athletes looking to improve their strength in specific positions, reclaim lost mobility and be as strong as possible in every movement.  

How does PP implement FRC?
We send out the attached videos and instructions with how to implement CARS as a warm-up. Then we will progress our athletes safely and effectively based on their specific needs to utilize both PALS/RALS & PAILS/RAILS. Creating new ROM and building strength there takes time, but slowly implementing an appropriate loading and movement to our athletes is what helps keep them healthy and improving towards their goals.

Finally, we want to mention is that we have staff members who are certified. They will work in person on athletes to identify problems and underlying issues while also walking them through higher level work to strength and stability in new ranges of motion. These are only offered in specific parts of the country, but we also have friends around the world who we know and trust we’d love to connect you with if interested in learning more and having a coach go through with you more in depth, please contact us if interested!

Thanks for reading!

Powell Performance Staff

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