Adaptability. Trainability. Windows of opportunity.
In a nutshell, this was the underlying theme running through my head while attending the Functional Range Assessment (FRA) course.
FRA is the most recent of the Functional Anatomy Seminars to be released and essentially, what ties their ever-evolving system together. I have previously written about their Functional Release and Functional Range Conditioning courses. Although titled "assessment", this course in my opinion is actually a "thinking course". A course that when its teachings - aka mastering the systems - is applied in it's truest sense, fosters collaboration between the therapy and training worlds yet simultaneously, delegates responsibilities to the corresponding and appropriately trained professionals.
I won't go into depth on the contents of "the assessment" as doing so would be a disservice to the system itself as well as to anyone reading who may be unfamiliar with FR or FRC. However, what should be understood is this:
1) It would behoove us to first be able to attain ranges of motion prior to loading said ranges
2) Attainment of said ranges should ideally be achieved via active means utilizing internal loads
3) Control of as much of said range as possible is the goal
In other words...
a) Do they have sufficient range of motion?
b) If so, can they fully control said range?
c) If not, is it within your scope to assess and address or should you refer to a medical professional who speaks the same language?
If I were to explain the system to someone unfamiliar, that's exactly how I would do so. Again, it would be unfair to attempt to summarize and or explain the assessment process so instead, let me expand on adaptability, trainability and windows of opportunity.
In physical preparation and athletic development settings, it is not uncommon to consider a significant component of enhancing of an individual’s biomotor abilities and physiologic profiles as simply stress application and management. Clearly, this is an extreme oversimplification. However, no less than ten times did I relate back to the following words from Charlie Weingroff in my head throughout the weekend.
...the body's ability to mechanically and neurologically get into positions to absorb and adapt to stress...
Much of this "adaptability" component stems from the perspective that places high importance on optimal afferent feedback. That for optimal output, one requires optimal preceeding input. And for optimal input, one must have the ability to receive such input. Or as stated, Force Reception and Force Perception. Please feel free to look up "Core Pendulum Theory".
This is where "healthy joints" come in.
We are ecosystems. Ecosystems that are Complex Adaptive Systems who are always evolving and exhibit emergent behaviour. Behaviour that's dependant in part on the informational constraints we are exposed to. As such, we must be able to adapt to such constraints as mentioned above.
Yet often this incomplete. For loaded and / or athletic activity, it is not offbeat to suggest that our everyday ecosystems are insufficient. Thus, the importance of strategically applied stress. And subsequently, the necessity of optimal readiness and trainability. Specifically, do we at any given moment, have the tools required to even attempt to improve our strength, power, etc. Are our tissues in an optimal state to express the qualities necessary to overcome external load? And again, do we even exhibit the controllable ranges of motion necessary for force expression and locomotion?
Dr. Scott Howitt suggested that "we need to make sure the operating system supports the new app we download". Therefore, I would advise against downloading and using snapchat if one is still using an iPhone 3.
Windows of Opportunity
Roadmaps are not uncommon. And the FRA too is a roadmap. A roadmap to windows of opportunity.
We'll hit red lights and we'll hit green lights. But it doesn't mean we have to shut off our engines completely. Some windows will be closed and or unavailable. Following the algorithm will tell us when to refer to the medical team.
But many windows will be open. Small windows. Large windows. The assessment will notify us of the impending quarter Controlled Articular Rotations and the algorithm will certainly lead us to full range Eccentric Neural Grooving.
We simply have to think. Think beyond intelligent guesswork and more analytically. Think slow and think better.