‘Critical Look’ challenges the way systemic information is presented and questions the story being told.
Personal background with system – attended a FRC seminar/certification in December of 2015.
What FRC is getting right
They have been brilliant at internalizing the focus of movement. Getting people to pay attention to their joints and tissue tensions adds an important aspect to one’s personal practice. An awareness of dysfunctional parts is critical, particularly when the intent is to integrate them back into a whole. The focus of seminars has shifted to coaching movement instead of the judgement of movement, giving participants practical, out-the-door strategies for using the system with their clients.
Possible flaws within the FRC methodology:
1. Targeting the hardware at the expense of the software
Because so much of the brain remains an unknown, the system targets afferent feedback through the joint capsules and surrounding tissues. But they are forgetting the brain’s role in the sequence of organizing movement. In narrowing the scope toward the body’s parts, they overlook the impact of coordination and dynamic systems theory. At its most robust, the hardware would be examined alongside/ in relation to the software, and these elements could be combined for greater, more lasting effect.
2. Repetition over variability
Every damn day. I have such a hard time with this. To even write a CARs post I had to frame it in the lens of exploration. Monotony breeds boredom and non-compliance. It’s what makes FRC a ‘cold’ practice, void of expression and creativity. If volume breeds efficiency wouldn’t you want to use your time applying that efficiency toward other things, the larger movement goals/ambitions at hand?
3. Tension, work, and making things hard
While ramping is indeed a clever and effective way to engage tissue, promoting the idea that full body irradiation is essential for greater mobility dismisses the fact that relaxation can also be an effective tool. The concept of fluidity relies on it. As does breath. Perhaps the work-effort coupling is the marketing Kinstretch hinges on — people want to show up to a fitness class to work, and people won’t keep coming if it isn’t hard enough. They’ve latched onto a very desirable premise to ‘control yourself’, but maybe what more people need is the ability/ permission to ‘let go’.
4. Tight lines vs. natural arcs
CARs of the ball and sockets (hips and shoulders) aim for circles with greatest proximity to the body. Keeping your bicep, for example, as close to your head as possible throughout the entire circle. Does training against these natural arcs attempt to create force where it should not? Is it possible that optimum engagement exists in more of an oval?
FRC claims that are suspect
“Gain control of your joints and then explore how you move”
The idea that you must checklist your parts before you examine the whole seems backwards. How would you know there was issue until an attempt at a larger movement pointed it out? The assumption that joint control must precede activity seems to fall under systemic bias. It facilitates the notion that the system is a pre-requisite to doing, and might go so far as provoke fear in an already reluctant general population.
There seems to be misleading cause and effect circulating. Take a look at this poster from a climbing gym in Seattle:
It both improves and can improve. Couldn’t anything be movement enhancement? Couldn’t any system, if practiced as intended, also tick the same generic boxes?
Sometimes the assertions are less subtle:
View this post on Instagram
Why @tombarrywsbb, @westsidebarbellofficial and I focus on assessing, treating and training physical capacity at the joint level. . ✅The more physical capacity your joints possess, the more range of motion, strength and control you possess. . ✅The more range of motion, strength and control your joints possess, the more movement variability, strength and control you will have over your movements. . ✅The more movement variability, strength and control you have over your movements, the less likely your movements will falter. . ✅If your movements falter less, then the less likely your chances are of injury. . ✅The less likely your chances are of injury, the more likely the chances are of cultivating increased physical capacities and skill acquisition. . ☑️Functional Range Assessment used to assess/quantify movement capacities. ☑️Functional Range Release used to treat physical capacities. ☑️Functional Range Conditioning used to train physical capacities. . @drmchivers & @rannyron exposed me to the capacity demands equation at FRA. . This quote is a spin off from @drandreospina quote on joints; I replaced joints with physical capacity. Same thought process. . #functionalrangerelease #functionalrangeconditioning #functionalrangesystems #functionalrangesystems #frpractitioner #frrelease #controlyourself #westsidebarbell #conjugate #conjugatemethod #conjugateclub #physicalcapacity #asseenincolumbus
The green checkmarks slant toward facts instead of possibilities.
Replacing ‘joint capacity’ with the broader ‘physical capacity’ makes a big difference. It leads the onlooker to presume that joints with more range of motion and control leads to strength gains, less chance of injury, and greater skill acquisition, which is not an accurate statement. It is misleading in both the soundness and completeness of its logic. The possibility of results should not be mistaken for the certainty of them.
Similarly, professional athletes using the system does not legitimize the system. It only shows that high-caliber athletes believe in the potential of the system enough to try it, not that it actually enhances their performance.
“Bridge between rehab and training”
Once upon a time, FRC was just an arrow. It was a bridge. In its growth to encompass everything (FR Assessment, FR Release, Kinstretch), both the arrows AND the words, it appears to have become it’s own place. With this expansion the question becomes, is this a place that intends for you to stay, or is this a place that intends to get you elsewhere — a place of your own choosing and design?
Response from Sev Gurmen:
“Gain control of your joints and then explore how you move”