Introduction to Functional Range Conditioning (FRC)

Functional Range Conditioning (FRC), created by @drandreospina, is essential to incorporate into your practice. FRC focuses on improving mobility. Mobility, in an FRC sense, is defined as STRENGTH + CONTROL in order to expand upon usable ranges of motion, articular resilience (i.e. load bearing capacity), and overall joint health. Prioritizing FRC principles in your training and [P]Rehab program can be a huge game changer! This article will provide you an intro to FRC principles provided with exercise examples.

In these videos brought to you by @dr.njbuonforte, he focuses on the FRC principle: controlled articular rotations. This is a great intro to FRC, the concept of CARs is that the joint capsule relays multidirectional and rotatory information to the central nervous system (CNS). For this reason, the rotatory component of CARs is imperative and should not be overlooked. The mechanoreceptors that innervate our joint capsules provides the CNS with afferent feedback carrying signals that pertain to what is going on with the joint. More stimulus to the mechanoreceptors means more AFFERENT feedback to the CNS, which causes more EFFERENT output back to the musculoskeletal system, inducing more CONTROL.

Intro To FRC: Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)

In these videos, I am performing CARs focused at my neck, shoulder, and hip. I am ACTIVELY moving through my range and utilizing the USABLE range of motion under muscular and neurological control instead of simply holding a static stretch without active control. Each time I perform CARs, I try to create a larger “circle” to improve control on the outer limits of my range, thus enhancing the adaptability of my tissues and aiding in joint health, integrity, and protection. Also, to increase the intensity of this exercise, I can increase the resistance through the air from 0% to 100%. This will help create more tension throughout the body to ultimately improve muscular and neurological control. This is a great intro to FRC and excellent starting point!


Learn More Hip Mobility Exercises

hip program prehab guys

The Hip [P]Rehab Program is a physical therapist developed, step-by-step program that teaches you how to optimize your hip health. This 3-phase program will expose you to various hip and lower body strengthening and stabilization exercises supported by science. This program will bulletproof your hips for anything life throws at you! You can learn more about the program here!


Intro To FRC: PAILs & RAILs

These videos emphasize FRC principles: progressive (PAIL) and regressive angular isometric loading (RAIL). Building off the intro to FRC with CARs, these techniques help teach the central nervous system (CNS) how to control and function in newly acquired ranges. Utilizing isometric contraction teaches the nervous system to have ACTIVE control over a particular range (i.e. shortened or lengthened positions). These techniques help expand USABLE range of motion. In addition, PAILs and RAILs will help build strength and tissue adaptation in both the shortened and lengthened ranges of motion. A key component while performing PAILs and RAILs is to irradiate (create tension) throughout the body.

In order to perform PAILs and RAILs, statically hold a 90-90 hip position for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes, I irradiate throughout my entire body and perform a PAIL contraction with my right leg by driving the leg into the ground, ramping tension up to 100% effort by the end of the 10-second count. After the PAIL contraction I reverse into a RAIL contraction–again, ramping tension up to 100% effort within the 10-second count–whereby I ACTIVELY bring myself further into a new range. After completing that cycle (Hold position: 2 minutes, then PAIL/RAIL contraction) I am in a newly acquired range and I repeat the sequence. These techniques are very taxing to the body and should be performed with 100% focus!


Improve Your Shoulder Stability With Our Program!

The Shoulder [P]Rehab Program is on our very own [P]Rehab app that is a 16-week long program to maximize your shoulder health for life. The program is for anyone looking to bulletproof their shoulders for life! Whether youโ€™re an average Joe, fit Fiona, weekend warrior, athlete, or superhero parent, you can benefit from this program. We make it easy and teach you how to strengthen your shoulders and keep them healthy for anything life throws at you.ย Learn more here


Intro To FRC: Passive End Range Holds, Lift Offs, and Hovers

These videos focus on the FRC principles: passive end range holds, passive end range liftoffs, and hovers. These techniques help to improve muscular strength, joint resiliency, and muscular and neurological control. The concept of irradiating tension throughout my body remains in the techniques. The first clip is focused on improving my end range hip flexion STRENGTH. I passively bring myself into a particular range of hip flexion and maintain that position ACTIVELY for a given period of time. I then increase the degree of hip flexion and perform the same technique.

The second technique is passive end range lift offs out of a 90-90 hip position, which focuses on improving hip internal rotation, specifically on the left side in this clip. I irradiate tension throughout the entire body to lift off the ground and hold for a period of time to improve neural drive and strength in the given range. Lastly, is Hovers. Implementing tools such as yoga blocks or shoes to help you perform hovers is totally up to you. In this clip, I start in a 90-90 hip position with the focus being on my right leg. I actively lift my front side leg and bring it through a particular range of motion hovering over an object such as a towel. This enhances neural and muscular strength throughout the entire exercise. These techniques are neurologically taxing if done correctly and cramping is likely to occur. Slowly start implementing FRC principles into everyday practice and optimize your joint resilience, health, and longevity!


Learn More About Our Mobility Programs!

Are you looking for more specific exercises and programming for your needs? Whether it’s your ankle, your mid-back, or your overhead mobility, we got you covered! Click here to learn more about the programs we have to offer


About the Author: Nick Buonforte

Nick Buonforte

Nick is a physical therapist, certified strength and conditioning specialist, andย owner of DRIVE Physical Therapy and Performance located in northernย New Jersey. He has worked at the professional baseball level while completing an affiliation with the San Francisco Giants baseball club. He currently practices physical therapy in addition to sports performance training for athletes, with patients ranging from grade school to the professional level in New Jersey. Dr. Buonforte takes a holistic approach when looking at his athletes/clients in order to create and implement the most effective treatment strategy that is tailored to them and their goals/needs. He is seen here introducing a series on Functional Range Conditioning, which he learned from @drandreospina


instagram: @dr.njbuonforte

FRC created by @drandreospina

Click here to learn more about Functional Range Conditioning


  • Quinton Dailey
    Posted at 00:12h, 12 January Reply


    Just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoy your content, and as a new Physical Therapist it invigorates me to discover new approaches such as this one. I have a question for you though: are there, or have there been FRC courses in Texas? If not, I would very much like to get in touch with you, as I know of numerous colleagues of mine that would be interested in learning the FRC approach. I firmly believe there to be many Rehab facilities, here in Texas, that would love to take the FRC course, and glean what ever they can from it. Regardless I would love to discuss ideas with you, either via email or some form of social media. I look forward to your reply, and to any future discussions we might have. Ps: I know it says my email address won’t be published, but I’m going to include it here.

    • Michael Lau
      Posted at 03:04h, 14 January Reply

      Hey Quinton, Michael here. Glad you enjoyed the article! Please email nick directly at to get your question answered!

      I am almost certain though that FRC holds courses int he Texas area.


  • Victor
    Posted at 23:23h, 03 May Reply

    This article looked like it was going to be about increasing range of motion, controll and strength. Yet, i see no exercise here that can be properly loaded(you can add bands, but you would need bands in 4 different directions to load the whole movement), and it seems like it would have no advantage over common strength exercises like the overhead press, dips, rows and chin ups when it comes to loading, strength progress, controll or range of motion. As common compound movments,done with full range of motion, will acts as a stretch, and will provide increased range of motion.

    The joints rotate during normal movements, so why would you need to create exercises(CARs) that are nearly impossible to load, properly. And why would you think those exercises gives a superior result in terms of controll than those exercises i listed? Also, why do you think that isolating a movement provides better benefits than exercises that use all planes of motion?
    The last video that covers exercises for the FCR principle seems very inefficient. You would need A LOT of exercises to cover all the positions and all planes of movement.
    You say “The first clip is focused on improving my end range hip flexion STRENGTH” and that may be true for the first times you do that exercise, but after your body have adapted to the stimulus you will need to provide resisstance. Which in this case is very difficult to do in small jumps, and VERY time consuming if you want train end range of motion strength in various positions. And i dont see how isometrically contracting your whole body during these exercises, without any load will lead to good strength progression. A squat with weight on your upper back would provide a much better stimulus in terms of strength. When you squat with full range of motion you DO train end range of motion strength.

    So why should anyone consider these exercises when they are very time consuming, compared to normal strength exercises. They dont provide any better controll. They do not provide a better strength nor better afferent/efferent feedback/output than heavy strength exercises. I dont see how these exercises are superior in terms of increased motion than regulare exercises and stretching. And i dont see how normal compound exercises will provide less controll and balance.

    Sincerely, Victor

    • austin
      Posted at 02:05h, 30 August Reply

      Victor: Have you tried these? They are super hard and taxing and lead to fast increases in range of motion and decrease in pain.

      if you think stretching is the best thing for increasing functional range of motion, you are very far behind the times with regard to practical application of motor control retraining and CNS conditioning, which is what you want to be practicing if you want immediate gains in mobility and strength

  • Emily
    Posted at 14:58h, 21 January Reply

    Generally, how often should one be incorporating FRC into their programming, and when? Pre-lifting, post-lifting, as a stand alone workout?

    • Michael Lau
      Posted at 12:59h, 27 January Reply

      It all depends, you can do all of the above! FRC is very mentally tasking, I wouldn’t advise doing more than a minute or 2 prior to lifting. Personally, i do it as a standalone.

  • Joseph Paul Jacobs, Jr.
    Posted at 04:54h, 22 February Reply

    Nick, you guys should know – and I don’t know how long you’ve been around – that people are still discovering you and we’re all better for it.

    Two thoughs I wondered if you’ve given attention to?

    1. Seniors and the elderly daily stretching routines

    2. Girls and women- focus on the stretching routines they need to be doing daily.


    • Michael Lau
      Posted at 19:25h, 29 February Reply

      Thanks for the kind words! TBH, the “stretching routines” should be the same as it would be for any population – just because someone is a senior or elderly or a girl or a woman doesn’t mean they should stretch any different. Differences in programing come mainly from the goal fo the intervention (in this case the stretch), rather than the actual person. Hope that makes sense!

  • Szymon
    Posted at 10:18h, 16 April Reply

    Hey Nick, thank you for the article, I was looking for a Kinstretch primer and you’ve answered a few questions I had. At the same time it’s still unclear to me:
    1. What is the exact difference between end range holds and lift offs? To my bystander perspective it looks like both are about holding a given area in an end range position for that particular movement.
    2. You said cramps may occur. Are they in any way dangerous? I always thought that this is a sign to go out of the movement as muscles may cramp so much that they will tear (or at least refuse to release afterwards)

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