An Intro to Functional Range Conditioning

December 10, 2021 | Functional Range Conditioning

An Intro to Functional Range Conditioning

Motive Training has grown significantly over the last 18 months. We have always been a movement-focused gym. However, we recently kicked things up a notch by intertwining Functional Range Conditioning (FRC®) into our programming.

FRC is a joint health and mobility system that assesses, improves, and sustains joint strength, integrity, and resilience. Its goal is to make you a more complete, mobile human being, which is why it’s so easy to get behind FRC’s mission and use their protocols.

Our industry generally tries to work around joint issues, not through them. Functional Range Conditioning turns that on its head and encourages people to have independent joint health to move their joints better interdependently. So, for example, if you struggle to move your shoulder overhead without pain or compensation (e.g., moving your spine, bending your elbow, or straining your neck), perhaps you should improve your shoulder’s ability to move overhead rather than pretend it’s not an issue, to begin with.

How you improve your shoulder through the FRC system is where we come in.

Determining Joint Health: You Don’t Need to Be a Physical Therapist.

Contrary to popular belief, trainers are well within their scope to assess how well other human beings move their bodies. We’re not taught to be movement detectives, but we should be. The only way to truly understand how well someone moves is to get hands-on with them, which is precisely what we do.

At Motive Training, we use the Functional Range Assessment (FRA®) to assess how clients move on a joint-by-joint basis. We take the time to explore every joint from the neck to the toes.

We look at how people can or cannot move certain joints to tell us where to begin training. For instance, if someone is flexible (i.e., they have an excellent capacity to move their joints) but is not mobile (i.e., they cannot control where their joints move), we know what to work on first and how.

If someone comes in with pain that we can’t work with, we refer them to a clinic that can effectively diagnose and treat them within the FRC system.

Assessments Guide Programming, Always.

We utilize our FRA findings to begin training clients, teaching them how to improve global joint range of motion to do the things they want to do (e.g., play with their kids, lift heavier weights, etc.)

Regardless of a client’s findings, we teach everyone how to perform controlled articular rotations (CARs).

Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)

CARs are joint circles that allow you to explore a given joint’s workspace slowly, methodically, and intentionally.

Standard shoulder exercises (e.g., push-ups) generally work the shoulder joint in a fixed plane, whereas CARs examine and load the entire shoulder joint through its biggest range of motion possible.

Your body feeds off of input. So the more consistent information we give it, the more likely it is to maintain its available range of motion, strength, and resilience. That’s what makes CARs a powerful tool in supporting joint health.

CARs are universal and applicable to everyone, regardless of their starting point. We use them to assess joint function, warm-up tissue, train range of motion, or cool down; no matter how they’re used, they’re beneficial.

Below is a video that goes over how and why to perform the “core” cars: neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. Of course, all joint CARs are essential, but these four CARs utilize a pretty wide range of tissue and joint space that most people can begin with right away.


We don’t disregard standard training modalities. For example, we can teach you to perform barbell back squats, kettlebell swings, and weighted chin-ups if your goals and body require them. However, we don’t start you there unless your joints and body have the prerequisites to do so.

That is what good personal training should be about, and that’s why we’ve adopted FRC into our programming.

Distinguishing where to start training and why it is crucial to your progress and longevity in and out of the gym.

Functional Range Conditioning allows us to take training one step further to make you the most functional human being you can be. And that is a goal practically everyone can get behind.

Don’t leave results on the table or hinder your body’s ability to move and function at the highest level. Instead, reach out to us, and we’ll show you how to implement exercises like CARs to drastically improve your body from your head down to your toes.

Written by:

Brian MurrayBrian Murray

Founder of Motive Training

Are you looking for a sound, effective fitness program? Reach out to us today.

We’ll teach you both how to move with purpose so you can lead a healthy, strong, and pain-free life, and we’re available online or in Grand Rapids, MI, and Austin, TX. You can find us in the Heartside district of Grand Rapids, MI, and the St. Elmo district in South Austin, TX.

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