What Functional Movement Screen (FMS)?

What is FMS (Functional Movement Systems)? And How it Can Help You.

If you are and athlete or have pain possibly caused by a faulty movement pattern, continue to read. The Functional Movement Screen captures fundamental movements, motor control within movement patterns, and competence of basic movements uncomplicated by specific skills. It determines the greatest areas of movement deficiency, demonstrates limitations or asymmetries, and eventually correlates these with an outcome and score. Once the greatest asymmetry or deficiency is observed, then specific corrective exercises are prescribed to facilitate proper movement sequence and form.

The original idea of the screen was to portray movement-pattern quality with a simple grading system of movement appraisal; it was not intended to diagnosis or measure isolated joint movement. Attempting to measure and isolation does a disservice to the pattern—the body is too complex to take isolated movements seriously in the initial stages of screening.

The FMS is comprised of seven movement tests that require a balance of mobility and stability. The patterns used provide observable performance of basic, manipulative and stabilizing movements by placing clients in positions where weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries and limitations become noticeable by a trained health and fitness professional.

The screen’s usefulness is its simplicity, practicality and ability to fill a void in the toolbox we use to judge performance and durability. It is not intended to determine why a dysfunctional or faulty movement pattern exists. Instead, it’s discovery of which patterns are problematic. The FMS exposes dysfunction or pain—or both—within basic movement patterns.

Those who score poorly on the screens are using compensatory movement patterns during regular activities. If these compensations continue, sub-optimal movement patterns are reinforced, leading to poor biomechanics and possibly contributing to a future injury.

Nike, Titlelist, and the N.F.L combine now all incorporate FMS into their athletes training protocols. There has been a dramatic shift in the physical therapy world over the past decade in now attempting to improve movement patterns with corrective exercise versus just trying to strengthen weakened, isolated muscle groups.

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