Controlled Articular Rotations for better flexibility and control

You probably don’t realize that your stretching program (if you even have one) is pretty one dimensional, you stretch the tissues that cross and control your joints in one plane of movement.

Think of how you stretch your hips.  

You probably stretch your hamstrings with your leg straight and in line with your body.  You stretch your quadriceps with your heel to your bum and your knee pointing down.  You stretch your groins with your legs flared out to the side.

That is all fine and it is giving your muscles some good stimulus, but what about the rotational component? 

When do you stretch that? 

And how do you stretch that for maximum benefit with minimal risk? 

Is it even important? 

Well, the answer to the last one is definitely “Yes”.   

Anytime you go into a butterfly, reverse VH, VH, t-push and full on Hasek flail, you are rotating at your hip joint, very often to extreme end range.  This is a high-risk position for your hip, especially with your full body weight coming down in that position.

Your joints have connective tissue/joint capsules that offer support, but equally (if not more) importantly they are full of joint position receptors that give feedback to the brain (which then shoots signals to your muscles) about the position of the joint, the speed of movement, the amount of strain on the joint.  The brain will either say “yeah, baby go for it” or “no, no, no – don’t do that!!”

But first your body has to have a really good understanding of what ‘normal’ movement is for you and that is where Controlled Articular Rotations come into the equation.  They not only improve your mobility in the rotational plane, but they feed all sorts of information to the brain about your functional range of motion, which helps your brain determine what is and is not okay for you.

If your brain doesn’t think it is a good idea, it will do it’s best to limit your movement and use your muscles to limit your movement on the ice in an attempt to protect your hip.  This is a good thing.

If you can show your body what your range is and generate some tension in the joint while doing it, then your brain will start to relax a little bit and learn to trust you.

It is like when I start working with a new goalie in the gym.  At first, they have to start with dumbbell front squats because I want to see how they move and make sure they are not going to hurt themselves.  I am there to watch every single rep and correct as they go.  Once I feel comfortable with their level of competency, they can start doing barbell front squat with some cueing, then that looks great and away they go.

Here’s how to do it…

Remember, there should never be pain when you do this, you are trying to use the full range and generate tension, but not force your body into positions it just does not want to be in or cannot get in.