So what is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), you ask? Well, the FMS is a rating and ranking system used to identify movement limitations, left/right muscle asymmetries, and serves as a trouble-detection system to prevent injuries before they happen. With each person’s screen results comes a sequence of corrective exercises to help fix the imbalances found during the testing.
Here is a little background information on the screen. FMS was officially introduced in 1998 by physical therapists Gray Cook and Lee Burton to rate and rank movement patterns in high school athletes. According to Cook, the primary cause of athletic injuries is neither weakness nor tightness, but rather muscle imbalance. Since then, FMS has become one of the most valuable tools in a strength coach’s arsenal to help judge durability of everyone from the professional athlete to the weekend warrior. Elite military groups like The U.S. Navy Seals and professional football teams like the Seattle Seahawks now use the FMS on a consistent basis, as well as coaches and personal trainers all over the world.
So what would I do during this “screen”?
The Functional Movement Screen is made up of a series of 7 movements that require a balance of both mobility and stability. They are comprised of 3 functional movement patterns, 2 positions that test mobility, and 2 movement patterns that test core stability.
Here is a quick rundown of the moves:
0 = pain during movement
1 = failed movement pattern
2 = passed but with some compensations
3 = passed with no compensations
Out of a total score of 21, the average scores range from about 13-15, depending on age and fitness level of each individual. A score of 1 on any screen means that movement should not be trained, but should be corrected. A score of 0 requires that a competent medical professional should perform an evaluation. An asymmetry such as a score of 1 on one side and a 2 on the other side is the most immediately important movement dysfunction to correct.
The FMS is not designed to identify the specific reason why a faulty movement patterns exists. There can be an endless list of possible reasons, but identifying that there is a problem is the first step toward correcting it. The screen is also not a training tool, but a rating and ranking tool.
The positions and movements chosen help magnify whatever weaknesses exist so a trained professional can easily identify them. These tests place the individual in extreme positions where weaknesses and right/left imbalances become easily noticeable if appropriate stability and muscle balance is not present. The beauty of the FMS is that it is an easy and effective way of evaluating basic movement abilities, while providing a clear baseline to mark progress and measure performance during an exercise program.
Keep in mind though; that the Functional Movement Screen is not a diagnostic tool .While the FMS can be very useful, it is important to understand that the FMS is a screen. In other words, FMS may not be able to identify the root cause of whatever is making you score poorly on the test. For example, if you are unable to complete an overhead squat, there are many possible causes such as tight calves, weak core musculature, tight hip flexors, shoulder tightness etc. That being said, corrective exercises may help correct whatever underlying issue you have. So if your overhead squat improves because of corrective exercise, the root cause doesn’t matter.
Utilizing the Functional Movement Screen before beginning, or during, a sport or exercise program can help you determine functional deficits that are often overlooked by traditional athletic physical exams. If the weaknesses exposed by the FMS can be identified and addressed, decreased injury risk and improved athletic performance should follow naturally. Focus on pre-hab so you don’t have to do rehab!
This month is FMS month at Framework Fitness Training. You get an initial Functional Movement Screen, corrective exercises, and a follow-up screen for ONLY $79! No matter your fitness level or athletic ability, there is benefit in the FMS for everyone. Appointments are filling up, so schedule your FMS screen before spots fill up. Please contact Brice if you have any questions, or you can sign up HERE.