Just recently, Jason, Dr. Eric and I had the pleasure of visiting Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, OR. for the inaugural, first-time-ever Kinstretch Instructors course instructed by Dr. Andreo Spina and Dewey Nielsen. This method is the brainchild of Dr. Andreo Spina, creator of Functional Anatomic Palpation Systems (F.A.P.™), Functional Range Release (F.R.®) Techniques, and Functional Range Conditioning (FRC)™.
Our intentions in attending the seminars created by Dr. Spina were to better understand how to effectively move, control and influence the human body. We work with athletes and non-athletes from all walks of life, helping them move more efficiently and effectively in their lives. With the advent of the internet, there is a lot of misinformation mixed with a lot of great information and it can be difficult to filter what's good and what isn't. FRC came across our radar months back, and what we learned through his blogs, Youtube videos and other seminar attendees resonated with our views on the function of the human body. I can say now that Dr. Spina's work is the most valuable system I've discovered in regards to exploring the human movement potential while building a safe and resilient machine at the same time.
Dr. Andreo Spina is a Sports Specialist Chiropractor, acupuncturist, author, father, and life-long martial artist based out of Toronto, Canada.
Dewey Nielsen is a strength coach, climber, MMA instructor, adventurer and head instructor of the Kinstretch course. Dewey is based out of Oregon (at Impact Performance Training), but if you check his Instagram, he is most likely on top of some gorgeous mountain enjoying the view.
Jason, Dr. Eric and I had the fortune of visiting the Nike Campus, for the FRC course, to learn the principles of Dr. Spina's methodology when it comes to the human body. This was the first time Nike allowed anyone to hold a seminar/workshop on their campus. Picture a beautiful college campus, with all of the greens, courts, fields, tracks etc; then picture Nike adding their touch to it - Amazing.
The FRC methods, which are the basis for the Kinstretch course, are based off the latest research in terms of how the body operates and how we can best access our greatest range of motion and more importantly, CONTROL it. In addition, it contains a built-in self-assessment system where the athlete is able to discover limitations and problem areas on their own. FRC provides the athlete or individual with tools for life to improve their articular longevity because the saying is true: "If you don't USE it, you LOSE it!"
For a TLDR version:
- Create joint independence before interdependence. If your spine doesn't work like a spine, it's not a spine. You need to relearn how to be human. Take the time to work on using your joints like joints.
- If you can't actively get to a position or range of motion without any load, you shouldn't load that tissue. If load>capacity, we are at risk for injury. Therefore, we need to improve our bodies capacity to bear loads.
- Force is the language of cells - to best improve the quality of your tissues, you have to impose a certain demand on them to adapt. Your shoes are a stress. How you sit at your computer is a stress. How you pick up something off the floor is a stress. They have the potential to be good or bad, and our body will adapt regardless. If something becomes receptive and prevents you from moving well, your body will recognize that and lay down the tissue cells accordingly.
- Flexibility and mobility are not the same thing. Flexibility involves passively getting to an end range of motion, which can potentially be dangerous. Mobility is control through a range of motion - oftentimes safeguarding us from potential danger.
- Unless you have some soft tissue haphazardly laid down, your nervous system dictates your movement (i.e. it puts the brakes on your range of motion because it either a. doesn't trust you due to a lack of strength or stability and/or b. you haven't been there in a long time).
- Our connective tissue (fascia, muscle, tendons, ligaments etc) are made up of the same material, just expressed slightly differently. When we move, we never truly isolate one area, rather the conglomeration of tissue being stressed in that line of movement.
That was a very simplified, brief overview of the FRC principles. There is much, much more to it, but this will give you a general idea.
We met in the Nike Sports Center facility, joined by several other instructors and 35 attendees. Some faces were familiar as we had met them months prior, while others were well-known for sharing their own applications of the methods on social media and in the community.
In order to attend the Kinstretch course, you have to have already gone through the FRC course. This prepared everyone with the proper techniques and language that we would be using throughout the Kinstretch instruction.
This is not yoga. This is not a flow class. This is about controlling your body. Not to knock those other methods - they are great! However, they are not to be confused with Kinstretch - and Kinstretch is not to be confused with them. Here, we utilize several base positions and work on tension, coordination, and variability as we go places we've never been. Then we go further; all under our own control. Our nervous system LOVES variability. We should love it too - variety gives us spice. Control gives us power. If you don't have control over your own body, what do you have control over?
Most, if not all, other "movement" classes have no prerequisite development system built in, which can be dangerous if biomechanical errors are present. Moreover, there is no focus on building improved tissue resilience. Kinstretch covers it all.
Other things we focused on:
- Maximal diaphragmatic breathing - training your diaphragm to act like a diaphragm as the true respiratory muscle it is, and in a number of different and challenging positions
- Creating maximal tension in the body
- Where to initiate movement as we do something as "simple" (laugh) as picking your leg off the ground in a 90/90 base position
- How to progress, regress, and lateralize positions for folks of different levels
This is a system that entails speaking to your joints and the musculature around them. It's about developing a language to your outer limits and becoming fluent. It's about increasing your durability as a human as you become strong in the places you might get hurt. It's about prevention. It's about maintenance - remember "if you don't use it, you lose it."
The classes are set up at three levels - essentially a beginner, intermediate and advanced. Everyone begins at a Level 1 (beginner) to become familiar with the principles and methods and to understand their capabilities and limitations. Over time, as your mobility and control improves, you can move on to the next two levels which involve a number of other methods to practice control. The instructor demonstrates and verbally guides you through the techniques. If something is hard, it can be made easier. If something is easy, it can be made harder. Both are easy to adjust and modify based on the attendees capabilities and comfort levels in varying positions.
Prior to taking the FRC course, I had spent a few months geeking out on all of the material I could find on Spina's work - interviews, podcasts, Youtube videos, blog posts, etc. etc. Nothing compared to hearing it straight from the source though.
I don't want to give away all the gems in the review. I couldn't even if I wanted to. You'll have to join me on the floor and go through a class to find the real treasure…located deeeeeeep within your tissue.
Here at Kinetic, we have FR practitioners and FRC Mobility Specialists who utilize these techniques and more, not only in the rehabilitation process, but in performance enhancement and injury prevention. Stay tuned as we're currently in the process of developing our Kinstretch courses.
I've had nothing but success with these methods in my own training, but more importantly with patients and clients. If you're looking to take your knowledge of movement to the next level, I can't recommend enough for you to find an FRC Movement Specialist [me :) ] or take one of Dr. Andreo's courses - Functional Anatomy Seminars. I've included a few links below that will direct you to his official website and social media accounts (Dewey's too). If you have any questions, shoot them my way and get ready for some Kinstretch courses in the new few weeks in the Seattle area!