Endurance athletes are concerned about working on the engine; the aerobic engine. If we had to make the logic parallel to a car, we could say the framework would be the musculoskeletal system and the engine could be the cardiovascular system.
We are all obsessed over the numerical parameters of the engine, HR, Lactate, time, Watts, KOM’s etc etc. That’s how we get faster. However, the same compulsion is clearly lacking in the respect to the frame, the musculoskeletal system which essentially carries the “engine.”
Endurance athletes are still battling the taboo of weights or anything movement related that ISN’T triathlon training won’t get them better. It HAS come a long way, don't get me wrong, but the majority of the industry still has an issue of the return of investment (ROI) for performance.
To get the frame ready, there are some key components to get the maximum ROI. Specifically, a movement system called FRC (Functional Range Conditioning). The basis of FRC is to develop better mobility, joint strength, and body control or stability. Dr. Andreo Spina, the creator of this system, coins a major component to injury prevention is the simple logic of a tissue put under a stimulus, when it is not used to that stimulus, will get injured.
Endurance injuries are primarily overuse injuries that occur when the “frame” moves in an incorrect way for an excessive amount of strokes/reps/strides. Ultimately, this will cause a loss of consistency or a drop in volume of training, most notably the dreaded “red,” on your TrainingPeaks account.
So what is a CAR and why will it help us? Circular Articular Rotations (CARs). Think of a merry-go-round for your joints, or as Dr.Spina puts it, “Active rotational movements at the outer limits of articular rotation.” The three areas we focus on as movement specialists are: Shoulder, Hip, and Ankle CARs.
Rotating your shoulder, hip, and ankle joint in its maximum VOLUNTARY range of motion with TENSION and CONTROL.
1. Pick an area that you want to do a CAR. (Shoulder, Hip, Ankle.)
2. Stabilize or contract all articulations (joints) in order to minimize movement in non-targeted areas. Simply flex your muscles! (Isometric contraction)
3. Begin CAR
4. Attempt to perform the largest rotational movement that the joint allows.
5. GO SLOW, speed hides inefficiencies in movement.
Follow these links for video demonstration!
Perform 3 on the right and 3 on the left, per joint, per day, as a great start. If you are doing these correctly, and slowly enough, 3 on each side of the body is all you need. We know the best way to perform better is to do something consistently, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” our man Aristotle said awhile back. So these three movements should happen DAILY.
Use can also use CAR’s as a movement diagnostic. Triathletes use HR as a measurement of training preparedness, or a way to dictate training intensity for the day. Use the same approach here. Once you become accustomed to how these are supposed to feel, then you can use them as a way to see how you are feeling and show progression.