Greg, Trevor, and I are fortunate to practice at Solace New York, a model Crossfit facility for performance minded physical therapists. Prior to working out of Solace, I had not spent any appreciable time in a Crossfit facility. Everything I knew about Crossfit came from the Internet, watching the games on ESPN, and treating a few Crossfitters. Our experience thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, mainly because the sense of community at Solace is unlike anything I’ve experienced in fitness. The people at Solace are truly passionate about their own training and more importantly, about creating an atmosphere that motivates their peers. Even when people are attempting to break their own personal records, the team-first mentality remains pervasive. The community here has embraced Greg, Trevor, and I with open arms and taken a legitimate interest in what we do.
The educational constraints influencing physical preparation and physical therapy have led many professionals to question the delineation between the two disciplines. As mentioned previously on this blog, the boundary between these fields is often more political than practical. Outside of very specialized situations like high-level track and field and competitive strength sports, physical therapists need to delve into the performance realm to adequately prepare patients for discharge. Similarly, inpatient and acute postoperative circumstances notwithstanding, performance specialists are often unable to avoid navigating in clinical waters. Pain is typically regarded as the line that differentiates the performance and the clinical worlds. However, it is simply unrealistic to expect every hard-training athlete to see a clinician whenever the pain threshold is crossed. What that line should be is beyond the scope of this post but the point is that the unavoidable overlap between professions had led to the emergence of the performance-based clinician concept.
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.