Everyone wants a cool story on how they got injured; unfortunately, mine is not one of those. I drove away from a jiu-jitsu class as normal, turned the wheel and pop went my collarbone. Years of athletic engagement and overuse without proper recovery came back to bite me.
As an independent trainer without health insurance and zero desire to be trapped in a sling/out of commission while it healed, I had to survey my sources.
Something in one of my conversations with colleagues or Joe Rogan podcasts led me to the beginning of this recovery path, the sauna. I spent as much time in the sauna as I could, lasting longer each time. A natural accessory of that was learning how to control my breath. Breathwork gets you into a parasympathetic state which allows your body to heal or, as I like to put it now, rest and digest. It’s the one conscious way of controlling our nervous system and once we tap into that, the rest is at our fingertips.
If we can control our breathing while we recover, our mental capacity stays in place. Our brain plasticity runs on a use it or lose it principle; if you’re missing the range of motion for something like a split, it could be the fact that the motor area of your brain is diminished. Basically, your brain isn’t going to save space for something you don’t work on. This, however, can be reversed if you commit the time to the process. My favorite way to work that muscle is with my brain games. I’ll stress someone’s nervous system with exercise, only to have the solve a puzzle in their one-minute rest period. The purpose of these puzzles? It’s not really the bodies but the minds that we’re training.
With my newfound understanding of conscious breathing and the brain, I wanted to dive deeper into the world of intentionality through movement. To rehabilitate my own shoulder, I began doing CARs* in any position that could somehow aid the area. My love for it all blossomed more and more as I ventured further into the world of functional range conditioning. This type of movement allows you to get down to the simplest form of the movements that you are hoping to execute. We often focus so much on the end goal of what we want to achieve, heavy squats, muscle ups, etc. but rarely take the time to break that process down so that it all runs smoothly. Functional range conditioning is working on the simplest form of what you are trying to accomplish. Basically, FRC “makes shit work nice.”
This thought process was so far from any type of recovery I’d ever known. In fact, I was taught to avoid static stretching after a workout because it was “bad for performance” and would make me weaker. That was a trip.
Proper recovery and intentionality of movement benefits the injured, the pained, and the healthy. It is an avenue that allows the injured to train and the healthy to explore greater ranges of motion. With this movement, we can find where we are weakest and specifically make that stronger. Knowing how impactful this was to me is what led me to learn how to teach it in a group setting.
FRC and breathing are what we focus on in Libertas. We want you to increase the amount of active useable motion you have and strengthen those joints that allow you to be mobile. These motions bring nourishment and lubrication to those areas, allowing them to function safely and efficiently.
I owe a lot to FRC; I feel stronger from head to toe (literally, my toes are stronger), I’ve been able to maintain my weight better than ever before, and I’ve somehow convinced myself that I can run a marathon, fast.
*(CARs: Controlled Articular Rotations are active rotational movements at your joints and end range of motion)