Friday, November 21, 2008

The Functional Movement Screen

In August of this year I attended the Core Training Systems, Functional Movement Screen seminar in Boston, MA. The city was beautiful and I ended up learning so much in a small amount of time. I now am a Certified Specialist of the Functional Movement Screen and use it as the very foundation of my Injury Prevention and Human Performance Program.

The Functional Movement Screen (or FMS) was developed by Gray Cook. Gray is a licensed Physical Therapist, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, a level 1 coach with the US Weightlifting Federation, and is also a Level 1 Russian Kettlebell Instructor.

The FMS basically is 7 individual movement exercises that represent the foundational movements that exist since we were just babies. The tests include the Deep Squat, Hurdle Step, In Line Lunge, Shoulder Mobility, Active Straight Leg Raise, Trunk Stability Push Up, and Rotational Stability. Each movement is graded on a scale of 0-3: You get a 3 if you can perform the movement without cheating, 2 if you perform the movement but cheat, 1 if you cannot perform the movement at all, and 0 if you have pain with the movement. Highest score you can achieve is a 21. Some of the tests include you performing a test on the L side and a test on the R side.

Once the test has been completed this gives the FMS specialist a detailed map of the individual. What "the Map" will indicate if there are any asymmetries or imbalances present within that particular individuals body. Asymmetries are the second leading factors that can lead to injury (#1 is previous injury). It also tells the specialist if the movement issue is a stability problem or a mobility problem.

With this information we can determine what movement needs to be improved on to provide better balance to the individual.

So who could benefit from this? Everyone. Whether you have suffered a previous injury or had surgery, you are planning on training for that first 1/2 marathon, you want to begin an exercise program for one of your goals. This movement screen should be done first and foremost. If you test out and you have a good score with no imbalances, then train away. If you have a poor score with pain or imbalances then you need to work with a specialist who knows how to correct those movement imbalances.

NFL teams' Athletic Trainers & Strength Coaches use the FMS, why shouldn't you? I will try and get some video up on my first FMS that I performed for myself.

For more information on the FMS, and to find an FMS specialist near you. Check out

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