Listen, let’s be clear on one super important fact, —we want you to be a lean, strong, aesthetically impressive human.
But it’s tough to train to achieve such a picturesque frame if you feel, and move, like shit. Enter the CARs. CARs are a mobility training Godsend. And performing them everyday will improve your joint health and movement exponentially.
What are CARs?CARs are joint rotations with tension. The definition straight from the horse’s mouth, Dr. Andreo Spina and his Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) course, is this:
So, in essence, CARs explore the outer range of joint motion by rotating joints. We’ve just said the same thing in three different ways—but it helps to have multiple inputs. CARs are a great joint range of motion maintenance and expansion tool. Exploring the biggest range of motion possible sends the message to the brain, and its peripheral nervous brethren, that a big range of motion is safe and within bodily control. The tension, however, is key. Whipping joints in a circle does nothing to tell the body that it owns a range. Tension is the teaching tool. While it teaches, tension also strengthens tissues. Think of CARs, and any FRC based mobility work prescribed for you, as specialized strength training. The exercises teach the joints to be strong throughout an expanded range.
Active, rotational movements at the outer limits of articular motion. – Dr. Andreo Spina
Irradation and Isolating JointsLet’s continue with our tension theme. Building tension by contracting muscles causes adjacent muscles to contract. This, , is called irradiation. Irradiation sends the message to the brain to “release the Kraken!” Increased tension makes the body feel “safer.” Now it’s a party. Since it feels safer, the brain lets muscles generate more force and gives joints expanded ranges of motion—especially when muscles close to the spine contract with vigor. Rigid, safe spine = lots of force and range of motion to joints. In CARs terms—this means that the joint you’re training creates a bigger range of motion. Full-body tension has another beautiful outcome—it limits range of motion at the joints that shouldn’t move. As we perform CARs at a selected joint, we want to limit range of motion at adjacent joints—otherwise we aren’t truly training to improve range in our chosen joint. We’re “stealing” range from other joints and limiting CARs effectiveness, another reason why irradiation is pivotal for performing effective CARs. So, what’s the big takeaway?
Get tight everywhere before starting your CARs