Spinal Controlled Articular Rotations (Cars)

Use it or lose it.

This simple but profound phrase relates to virtually everything you could possibly think of when it comes to the human body. When it comes to our joints, if we don’t use a particular range of motion for some length of time, it goes away.

Experts aren’t in complete agreement on the exact timeline but it is generally accepted that every 2 to 3 years, every cell in your body will turn over – literally becoming reformed and changed.

For example, if a new fibroblast responsible for the signaling necessary to create new cells that will have the capability of the cell it is replacing doesn’t get the message that certain responsibilities (or ranges of motion) are required, that range…or responsibility or capability will be lost. Read that again. 😊 That’s called “use it or lose it.” Literally.

This, my friend, is what my work as a Functional Range Mobility Specialist with Functional Range Systems, and Controlled Articular Rotations, are all about.  (From this point forward, the acronym “CARs” will sometimes be used to describe Controlled Articular Rotations).

NOTE: IF you have ANY pain or discomfort when performing these which manifests as more than simply discomfort, because you’re moving in a new way or because you haven’t done something like this in a while, STOP. When you’re ready, you may try resuming but do reduce the range of motion or move around any area which may be uncomfortable. ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION.

With that being said, how can “CARs” be best defined?

Controlled Articular Rotations are active, rotational movements at the outer limits of articular (joint) motion. In other words, moving a single joint through its outermost rotational range of motion.

What is the purpose and use of CARs?

· To maintain your present joint range-of-motion.

· To maintain joint health and longevity.

· To screen and determine if the joint is healthy, or how healthy is the joint?

· To improve joint function and range-of-motion.

Try making this a ritual to do first thing in the morning upon waking. You could also do it in the shower! 😊

As you listen in and watch the instructional video, pay close attention to the details. For example, don’t forget to create that little abdominal brace and radiate tension throughout every other part of your body except the parts you’re moving and/or rotating, ok?

This takes practice so be patient.

The benefits really accrue with daily practice. Think of all of the CARs as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Just do it. Daily.

And finally, wrap your brain around this – it affirms the power in this important CARs practice.  **Note that you’ll see two more CARs videos in Restoration and Foundation – for the Hips in Circuit 2, and the shoulders in Circuit 3.

 Tools = joints. Patterns = fitness.

As an athlete, you need good tools (joints) to build quality patterns (fitness), that then can be turned into even higher levels of fitness, speed, and power; all with smart, progressive, consistent training. 

No matter how much you practice the “pattern” or try to improve a skill (e.g. train!), whatever it may be, if there is some restriction or limitation in the “joint,” there will be a limitation in the pattern.

To put it another way, if you’re attempting to build a great skill or pattern or build “fitness,” but have crappy “tools” to do it with, you’re going to be bumping up against a limitation that will stop you dead in your tracks and limit how far you can go, or how much you can improve.  

Think about it. And then get to work! 🙂


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