Neck Circles (CARs) for neck mobility

This is another one of my exercises that I give to athletes/patients in the controlled articular rotations (CARs) category. The training method and acronym is popularized by Dr Andreo Spina. It was taught to me at a Functional Range Conditioning course in Winnipeg.  I call them “circles” to my patients because it’s easier for them to understand.  What I like about CARs is that they are easy, yet challenging, and expose to my athletes areas of mobility that they are lacking in.  I recommend performing this exercise on a daily basis to help self assess your mobility.


Neck Circles (CARs)

The intent of this exercise is to actively pull the neck through it’s full range of motion. Challenging all angles that the neck can move through. Scribing out the largest circle possible with your neck.

Imagine, as you perform the exercise, that you are fighting against an invisible person trying to push you away from your end range of motion.  Often, when athletes are performing this move, they miss part of the circle. They cut the circle short when they bring the neck behind the shoulders.  To maximize the range of motion, as you get your ear to your shoulder reach the head back as far was you can before you start to look upwards.

Take 30 seconds to a minute to perform one rep repetition. repeat multiple times a day.

Pinching pain, tingling/numbness, and dizziness are not desirable.

Dr Notley

Calf Stretch I

Muscles Stretched
1. Gastrocnemius
2. Soleus
3. Extrinsic foot flexors

Start Position
1. Hands against wall
2. Place sole of one foot against wall
3. The leg of the foot being stretched is straight
4. Heel on ground

Finish Position
1. Lunge body forward towards wall

Common Errors
1. Only placing the toes on the wall and allowing the toe to extend back. The entire foot should remain straight.

** Note: it is best to wear shoes during this stretch

Ankle Mobility Exercises to Improve Dorsiflexion

For many of my patients who are active and have problems with their anywhere from their feet to their lower back ankle mobility may be an issue. Poor ankle mobility can compromise the stability of the foot, knee and lower back.  Common problems that we see with people with poor ankle mobility are knee pain, Achilles tendonitis/tendonopathy, lower back pain.  We often see poor squat and single leg squat mechanics as well.  Therefore, improving the ankle mobility may help improve your lower extremity pains, reduce the likelihood of injury as well as improve performance when you train or compete.  I found this great article by Mike Reinhold that goes more in depth in this area. Ankle Mobility Exercises to Improve Dorsiflexion – Mike Reinold.

Stretches sidebarAnkle Mobility Stretches

Here are some of my favorites all of which are highlighted in the article.  I hope this helps you in your injury care or athletic pursuits. The last one is my most favorite. Sometimes people need more specific care to improve the mobility of the ankle.  I often will use Active Release Techniques (ART) to help improve the extensibility of the capsule and the ligaments of the ankle.  I’ll also use ART or acupuncture to work/loose the muscles in the three compartments of the leg if needed. You can also use foam rolling or self myofascial release methods as mentioned in the article or simply check out these release methods

Dr Notley