CARS, CARS, CARS. What's the big deal about CARS? If you've been joining us for the Mobility Month Challenge or if you're one of my clients or colleagues, then you've heard me say many times, "Do your CARS every day. No excuses!" But why are they so important? Let's take a look.
WHAT ARE CARS?
For those of you who are a little late to the Pippin Performance party, it's probably beneficial to understand what CARS are. They stand for Controlled Articular Rotations and were developed by the mastermind of Dr Spina of Functional Range Conditioning. His concepts on mobility training are a true game changer and have helped evolve my personal philosophies that are applied to the work I do with my clients.
CARS allow you to develop control and keep what mobility you currently have. They also set the tone for developing more.
To see the full list of CARS and mobility exercises, check out our Youtube channel.
Now let's dive in to some key benefits.
#1: DELAY & PREVENT ONSET OF OSTEOARTHRITIS
How cool is this? CARS delay and prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.* The thing is, cartilage in our joints has no blood supply, which is important because without nutrients in the cartilage, our joints get stiff and decay. Don't worry, you're body's not gonna leave you hanging - it receives oxygen and other nutritious products from the surrounding joint fluid via diffusion. In other words, by taking your joint through its largest pain free range, it gives the tissues in the joint all the nutrition it requires. The more often you do them, the less decay that will occur in the joint.
#2: GAIN CONTROL
CARS allow you to gain control over your current range of motion. In my last blog, Passive vs Active Range of Motion, we explain that in order to mitigate as much injury as possible, we must close the gap between these two ranges. CARS allow us to do that by earning control over our entire range of motion because everything about CARS is active - there's no assistance from anything. The more time you spend in your end ranges of motion, the smaller the gap between passive and active gets.
#3: MORE ROOM TO PLAY WITH
Once you gain control over your range, your nervous system will allow you to have more room to play with. Our nervous system dictates how much movement we have and if the nervous system doesn't feel safe, it will prevent the body from moving further. It's an amazing protection mechanism. Once you start getting stronger at the ends of your movement patterns, the nervous system will grant you a little more room to play with. So, increased flexibility comes from gaining control of what you currently have, which doing CARS does for us.
#4: DAILY ASSESSMENTS
CARS are a perfect daily assessment tool. Every time you do your CARS, you are actually giving yourself a movement assessment. Over time, the more frequently you do your CARS, the more in tune with your body you will become. Now, this doesn't happen overnight. Just like any other type of movement, in the beginning there is a learning process. As you do them, you will feel where you are "sticky", like the tissue doesn't like going through that part. That means you need to spend more time there. Don't be in a hurry, slow down and be comfortable being UNcomfortable in those positions. Some days you will wake up and do your CARS and it might feel great, other days, not so much. THAT'S OK! It just means you need to spend a little more time doing them and going slow. Enjoy the process...it ends with you being better off at the end than when you started.
#5: YOUR HARDWARE WON'T GET RUSTY
Lastly, think of your joints as your personal hardware. Our bodies were designed to hunt and gather. Then as history progressed, we as a society started inventing all of the games and sports that require abnormal human function (EX: throwing a baseball). However, if we keep our hardware on point, our body is better at withstanding all of these different movement patterns. Do your CARS every single day! Your whole body will thank you for years to come.
Want more tips? Check out my Instagram and Facebook pages or YouTube channel, for more strength and mobility routines.
*Reference: Dr. Andreo A. Spina - Functional Anatomy Seminars
ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005. During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.
Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals. Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)