The answer is a lot. If you work with athletes in any capacity and haven’t read Applied Sprint Training by James Smith, I suggest that you do so. Many of the books cited as “must reads” in the fields of physical preparation and sports medicine are more abstract than practical. Supertraining, for example, provides an exhaustive theoretical analysis of the rehab-performance continuum. Read Supertraining and you will realize that no matter how much hype surrounds a particular product or tool, there is nothing new in the field. The principles have not changed; we just continually seek better ways to apply what we already know. The application of the current body of knowledge poses as great a challenge as discovering new truths. Similarly, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers might be the most enjoyable and informative book ever written about the human stress response. Essentially, training is the controlled application of stress to elicit contextually desirable adaptations. That said, while books like Supertraining and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers are informative, they don’t tell us what to do, which is exactly what we need sometimes. I remember reading an article a while back in which Mike Boyle discussed the differences between artists and factory workers. The best medical professionals and coaches are both artists and factory workers because they concretely navigate the abstract.
In part I, part II, and part III, we covered the differences between the SFMA, PRI, and FRC. Much like the class at Maverick and Goose’s inbrief at the Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, California, you’re probably wondering who’s the best.
Actually, I was just looking for a reason to embed a Top Gun video.
In part I and part II, we covered the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) and Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI) respectively. Here, we’ll cover Functional Range Conditioning (FRC). FRC is taught in conjunction with Functional Release (FR), a series of manual therapy courses that also include more in depth joint and soft tissue assessments. FR is supposed to be completed by medical providers while FRC is open to all fitness professionals. The inclusion of fitness professionals in the FRC course, however, does not render its content any less relevant to medical professionals. In fact, the principles espoused in the FRC course apply to the entire rehabilitation-fitness continuum. While I have yet to complete any of the FR courses, I suspect there is some degree of overlap with FRC.
In part I, we covered the The Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). Here, we’ll discuss the Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI). PRI is composed of multiple courses but for the sake of this discussion. I’ll focus on Myokinematic Restoration, Postural Respiration, and Impingement and Instability. Collectively, these three courses cover the biomechanics of the thorax, pelvis, and extremities in tremendous depth. Posture has become a dirty word in rehabilitation lately because static posture has not been demonstrated to correlate much with pain. Operationally defining “posture” is an article in itself but suffice to say, PRI does not advocate having people stand still while a clinician measures deviations from a plum line. PRI defines posture as a behavioral manifestation of the neuromuscular system. In this sense, posture is a dynamic behavioral output that is reflective of any sensory input that can influence movement. As movement professionals, our job is to change motor behavior to decrease pain and elicit physiological adaptations that increase resiliency. A better word for posture as elucidated by PRI is position. Position is fluid. While posture as traditionally defined may not matter much, position always matters. Position is the foundation of sport and the currency of movement.
One of the most divisive things in the physical preparation and rehabilitation community is the emotional attachment people develop to specific continuing education courses. The courses that deal with movement analysis tend to be some of the most polarizing despite the fact that they all attempt to answer the same question. Since there are scores of movement “systems” (the definition of system is a blog post in itself), I will only opine on the ones I’ve experienced firsthand, those from the Postural Restoration Institute®, The Selective Functional Movement Assessment, and Functional Range Conditioning. I did not review my notes from these courses in preparation for this post because I want to focus on the things that continue to resonate with me years later. Consequently, my current interpretation of the material might differ from each model’s official stance. I will review each system in the order that I think makes the most sense.