Functional Range Conditioning/Kinstretch

Over the past 7 months, I had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Andreo Spina at his courses called Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and Kinstretch. His course assistants were Dewey Nielsen, Hunter Cook, Dana Heimbecker, and Kristina Antidormi; all certified Kinstretch Instructors. The course emphasizes on true MOBILITY versus flexibility

Mobility: Ability to ACTIVELY control range of motion

Flexibility: Ability to PASSIVELY achieve an extended range of motion

In my opinion, active movements have more utility then passive movements. I value an athlete’s ability to control a standing straight leg raise more than their ability to touch their toes from a standing position when assessing hip flexion and knee extension. Coincidentally, after taking the FRC course, I have been noticing more that my patients/athletes have good passive range of motion (PROM) but their active range of motion (AROM) needs work. Long story short, the goal is to bridge the gap between AROM closer to PROM.

The larger the gap between your PROM and AROM, chances of injury are higher and the difference in degrees between PROM and AROM is where you can get hurt.

By using the FRC/Kinstretch concepts, we can improve your AROM and increase your durability. That sounds good, right?

FRC/Kinstretch concepts consist of:

  • Controlled Articular Rotation (CARs)
  • Progressive Angular Isometric Loading (PAILs)
  • Regressive Angular Isometric Loading (RAILs)
  • Progressive Angular Loading (PALs)
  • Regressive Angular Loading (RALs)

The quote, "If you don't use it, you lose it", rings true in many cases and especially so with your ROM at a joint level and a multi-joint level. If you do not explore and use the full capabilities of your joints, you will lose the ranges that you do not use over time. It all depends on the physical demands an individual puts on their bodies and how a cell replaces itself when it recycles out(that's a whole another blog post). For instance, years ago I visited South Korea and saw a group of 80 year old men smoking in a perfect deep squat position but my high school athletes can’t deep squat without lifting their heels off the ground. Why is that? You and I can predicted that the smokers have practiced their deep squat their whole lives. In contrast, our society does not demand our hips and knees to flex past 90 degrees and full ankle dorsiflexion gets unused. (Interesting fact: Most weight lifting shoes have a heel lift to create more dorsiflexion during a squat)

As a takeaway, move your joints fully everyday! Dr. Spina and I recommend doing light intensity CARs or Kinstretch every morning due to lying still for 7-8 hours during the night.

FRC and Kinstretch methods are used in the following organizations:

  • Onnit Academy
  • Minnesota Twins
  • San Diego Padres
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Portland Trailblazers
  • Texas A&M
  • Manchester United Soccer Club

More Kinstretch blogs to come and Kinstretch classes in the future!