Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 46: Assessing Your CARs Part 2

Last week we discussed the difference between opening and closing angle pain, and what implications they can have on your joint health.  If you haven't checked that post out you can do so here.

Today's lesson is learning what you should be paying attention to during your controlled articular rotations.  Once we determine that our circles are not painful, we can assess what we feel throughout.

We can focus our attention on one of two things as we perform CARs.  The first is how much range of motion do you have, and the second is can you control that range of motion?

NOTE: When performing CARs, the most important thing is the quality of the circle, not the size.  So make sure you are not compensating throughout the motion

1. Range of Motion - As you go through any controlled articular rotation, you want to be aware of how much motion you get in all directions.  How much flexion, extension and rotation can you achieve?

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You also want to compare this side to side.  If you do a CAR on the left shoulder, you want to compare it to the right shoulder.  Often times they may feel different, and can give you information about how to target your mobility training, 

2. How's Your Control?

Here we are looking at the quality of the joint circles.  You are looking for things such as; compensation, cadence, cramping, missing range of motion etc...  

  • Compensation - This is an important one.  The goal of CARs is to work at our end range of motion.  Trying to make the circles bigger through compensation robs you of the benefit of CARs.  If you notice you compensate, on the next circle, build more tension, slow down and if you have to shorten the range.
  • Cadence - If you are going through your joint circles and you start off nice and slow to find that at a certain part of the motion you speed up and rush through the spot, that tells me that you lack control there.  Your goal will be to SLOW DOWN and try and learn how to control that range of motion. 
  • Cramping - Cramping at your end ranges of motion is what we call neurological confusion.  When your body can't control the area, it starts to cramp due to active insufficiency.  The only way to improve this is to keep pushing through it.  Exposure to the range will strengthen the tissue and allow for cramp free movement.  Avoidance of the cramps will not improve your joint health or end range control. 
Yes, this may happen to you!  Fear not, it gets better with practice!!!

Yes, this may happen to you!  Fear not, it gets better with practice!!!

Keep these things in mind when assessing yourself during CARs.  And don't just compare right versus left, but also compare each joint against each other.  The joints that feel the worst and are the hardest to do should be your focus during mobility sessions. 

Did you learn something today?  Do you have questions, comments, or concerns?  Let me know below and sign up for my newsletter.