Ask the Doc: The Functional Movement Screen

Love to Eat? Introducing

Are you passionate about food, nutrition and recipes? Unleash your inner foodie and check out our brand-new site - share your favorite recipes at Nutrition-WOD today!

Print
by NICHOLE BLEUMLE|PT, DPT, MS, OCS, CSCS

Ask the Doc: The Functional Movement Screen

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” — Benjamin Franklin
The purpose of this article is to emphasize that your movement patterns are constantly changing. The human body is the ultimate compensating machine that is nothing short of amazing and keeps us moving for survival purposes. Unfortunately, compensation eventually comes at a cost. For the human body, that cost is usually paid with pain, injury and sub-maximal performance. Movement must be periodically screened or evaluated in order to have any chance of preventing injury, pain or functional decline.

Basic movement proficiency should be the foundation for any training program. If you have this foundation, then it is appropriate to move forward and discuss strength, endurance, power, and sport specific skill or technique refinement.
If you aren’t yet aware anything has changed, how can you address it? I am always amazed when I have an elderly patient referred for pain or injury related to a fall and so many times they (and their family members) truly did not think anything was wrong with their balance until they started having falls. The fall and the resulting injury was the culminating event that forced awareness, but their balance had probably been on the decline for years starting with subtle changes that they did not notice and no one was tracking. This is a life-threatening issue with staggering statistics that could easily be decreased with a lifetime habit of movement screening.

Waiting Can Hurt

Waiting for pain or injury to be your only cue for action is not the best plan. Imagine how long your car would last if you only popped the hood when the check engine light came on…. or worse yet, when you jumped in to head to work and the car would not start at all.

No one thinks twice about doing the maintenance and prevention tasks required to own a car and keep it running, so why is it so hard to do the same for most important vehicle you own: your one and only body?

Consider another example: Do you only go to the dentist when your tooth hurts? Most of us have been going to the dentist office twice a year for a check up since we were children, and we always hope we did enough brushing and flossing to avoid any painful and costly interventions. Even if you don’t get a gold star from the dentist, catching a cavity early and getting a filling is still easier to deal with than a root canal. The musculoskeletal system is no less important and the same practice of prevention and early detection should be made a priority through screening.

Functional Movement Screen

Functional Movement Screen
The Functional Movement Screen (FMS)™ is a research-based tool designed to screen the ability to perform 7 basic bodyweight movement patterns in pain-free, non-injured individuals. It is a screen and only a screen, not a diagnostic tool. For each of the 7 movements, an individual can receive a score of:

  • 0 (pain present)
  • 1 (not able to perform but not painful)
  • 2 (able to perform but with modification)
  • 3 (able complete the pattern in accordance with all specified criteria).
Things such as pregnancy and weight loss or gain related to activity or diet modifications alter movement patterns.
So a perfect (but extremely rare) score on the FMS is a total of 21. As a minimum standard, people (especially athletes) should be able to score at least a 2 on each individual movement (no scores of 0 or 1). Again, this is the minimum recommended standard, not optimal, and merely means that someone can complete the 7 movements without pain. Some asymmetries and compensatory patterns are most likely still present and would benefit from being addressed based on the individual athlete’s sport, competition level, and performance goals.

Basically ,if you as the athlete have pain or the inability to complete single-repetition, simple bodyweight movements, you have no business performing more complex movements with additional physical load or metabolic demands. Basic movement proficiency should be the foundation for any training program. If you have this foundation, then it is appropriate to move forward and discuss strength, endurance, power, and sport specific skill or technique refinement.

“First move well, then move often.” — Gray Cook

When is a Functional Movement Screen Warranted?

1. Every 6 months.

Go ahead and match your dental or car oil change schedule and plan to be screened even when you think your body is doing just fine. If you do find something brewing, then get it addressed before it becomes a bigger problem.

2. Once a pain-free state is achieved after injury or surgery.

The brain sends signals to modify movement to protect an area that is injured and in the process of healing. Sometimes after the healing is complete, the brain does not automatically reset to the pre-injury movement pattern. Think of anyone you have ever seen that continued to have a limp months after an ankle sprain even though they said it was no longer painful.

3. After illness.
The positions and demands required of one sport do not carry over to another and sometimes the adaptations they create can even be detrimental for the new sport because of left to right and front to back asymmetries in posture, strength, muscular endurance etc.
Especially if associated with 1 week or longer of bed rest and minimal physical activity. Relatively short-term illnesses like the flu can wreak havoc on the entire body as well as more chronic conditions and their required treatments. Cancer and chemo or radiation therapy can absolutely change the way you move.

4. Explained weight changes.

Things such as pregnancy and weight loss or gain related to activity or diet modifications alter movement patterns. Pretty straight forward here — more or less load causes adaptations in the body. Put on some body armor and see if you don’t feel and move differently by the end of the day. As for pregnancy, a physician can provide general guidance on physical training during pregnancy and post-partum that will mostly consist of cardiovascular and fall risk or positional precautions. Having a baby in the oven will definitely drastically change your musculoskeletal system — just ask any pregnant woman with back pain and carpal tunnel symptoms. Once the baby makes his or her debut, the body does not automatically reset and any remaining movement dysfunctions related to mobility or stability changes should be addressed before adding fitness back in the mix. NOTE: Unexplained weight changes are not normal and should be discussed with your physician.

5. Change of season sports.

5. Change of season sports.
I live in a mountain town, and I see my biggest spike in non-traumatic injuries during the change of seasons when athletes go from skiing all winter to hitting the trails in their running shoes or vice versa. Wolff’s law states that tissues will adapt to the loads under which they are placed. The positions and demands required of one sport do not carry over to another; sometimes the adaptations they create can even be detrimental for the new sport because of left to right and front to back asymmetries in posture, strength, muscular endurance, etc. So when you put away the running shoes and take your skis in for a tune up and wax, get yourself screened also.

6. Starting a new sport or training regimen.

Taken directly from the start of this article: Basic movement proficiency should be the foundation for any training program. If you have this foundation, then it is appropriate to move forward and discuss strength, endurance, power, and sport specific skill/technique refinement and acquisition. Enough said.

7. Plateau in training.

If you have stalled in progress towards your performance goals, take a step back and get screened. Getting one or two of those 7 movements from a score of 2 to a 3 could make a huge change and unleash some untapped performance potential.

Click here to find a functional movement expert near you that can perform your screen. Remember the FMS is intended for pain-free, non-injured individuals. If you are already in pain or dealing with an injury then find a professional such as a physical therapist to perform an evaluation and treat you appropriately. Once you are pain free again, then absolutely get an FMS and possibly additional return to sport testing based on your history and future athletic goals.

We can’t prevent 100% of engine failures, tooth aches, ankle sprains or falls, but we can absolutely lower the risk of these frustrating and often expensive occurrences by performing regular check ups and routine maintenance.

Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

mindcoach published the post Confidence and High Intensity Performance on Tabata Times
I know we just moved out of ski season, but skiing has so much to teach us about mental strength...
CrossFit Dark Element shared a link on Facebook

http://cfdarkelement.com/whiteboard/

CrossFit Dark Element shared a link on Facebook

http://cfdarkelement.com/daily-wod/

CrossFit Sweatshop posted an article
CrossFit Oakdale shared a link on Facebook

http://cfoakdale.com/2014/07/03/kevins-climb-completed/

Concord CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Welcome some new faces :-) great job tonight Courtney, John and Megan!!!

CrossFit Mill Valley shared an image on Facebook

Worlds colliding to save lives. Juggling for Jude #poweredbymammoth

CrossFit 209 Sport shared a link on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=735577119822185&id=163071317072771

CrossFit 209 Sport posted on Facebook

What will you be making for your 4th of July BBQ??? Let's hear it!! https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=410308475776149&substory_index=0&id=271313329675665

CrossFit 209 Sport shared an image on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=284606848385040&id=148284738683919 More info on knee pain!!

CrossFit Oakdale posted on Facebook

http://www.playbuzz.com/erikw/what-crossfit-exercise-are-you

CrossFit Envy shared a link on Facebook

Oops, forgot to mention, use the link to sign up and help a brother out :-P.

CrossFit Envy shared a link on Facebook

Hey everyone! Inov-8's, along with Skins and CEP compression gear, and other great gear for CrossFit.

CrossFit Modesto posted on Facebook

Just a little FYI guys, Friday July 4th. Coach Chris will be in at 5:30am for a workout and Coach Billy will be in at 9am as well! These are the only two classes for Friday, so prepare for some fun!

CrossFit Davis shared a link on Facebook

Make Coach Elliot happy and sign up for the Tommy Kono Meet coming up in August! There are sign up sheets at the gym! Talk to Elliot or any other coach for more info!

Tamalpais CrossFit posted on Facebook

July Happenings: Friday July 4th- 8 & 9am Classes only! Sunday July 6th- 9am Swim WOD at COM Kentfield Pool Sunday July 6th- Oly Strong moves to 10:15am on Sundays Tuesday July 8th- 11-11:45am CrossFit Kids starts, 2 spots left, register today! Parents WOD while your kid plays! Saturday July 12th- Crosstown Throwdown TCF vs Santa Rosa Strength and Conditioning – 11:45-2 pm at TCF, sign up on competition board located in SRB- all levels welcome! July 21st- Clarke Holland attends and dominates the CrossFit Games 2014

FTF Fitness posted an article
CrossFit Petaluma posted on Facebook

Schedule for the week of July 4th: Friday, July 4th: 10am class @ CSC only Saturday, July 5th: 10am class @ CSC only Make your way up to CrossFit Sonoma County to pick a Hero workout to complete in honor of Independence Day! The gym will be open from 10am-11:30am. Come in and throw down before a day filled with food, family, and fireworks!

CrossFit 209 Sport posted on Facebook

4th of July hours 8 and 9 AM only!!

bevchildress published the post Do You Struggle With Chronic Disease? on
I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease. I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping it at bay and...
mlsweezey published the post Baby Got Back: My New CrossFit Ass and Other Image Crushing Muscles on
Random Person: “um, do you workout?” Me: “No. This totally happens by accident. Strangest...
CrossFit Modesto shared an image on Facebook

Last nights Pull Up Skill,Clinic was full as can be! We had people get their first Kipping Pull Up, we had others improve their technique, and started others on their way to getting pullups! It was great time yesterday, good work to all those who attended!

CrossFit HEALDSBURG posted on Facebook

Schedule for 4th of July weekend Thursday, July 3rd 6:00am 8:30am 9:30am 12:00pm 5:00pm Friday, July 4th 8:30am 9:30am 12:00pm Saturday, July 5th 9:00am Have a safe and happy 4th!!

South Sacramento CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

24:17 top time for the ladies for Shakira!

South Sacramento CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Mr. Sub 20 Michael! 19:40 score to beat.

American River Crossfit shared a link on Facebook

07/02/2014 http://wp.me/sGeX1-07022014

CrossFit East Sacramento shared a link on Facebook

Today's blog post is up on the CFES Blog - [4th of July Outta The Box WOD @ Guy West]

CrossFit Envy posted on Facebook

Prehab/activation: SMR - low back / erectors 2 min Banded hamstring mobilization 2x10 glute bridges 2x10 supermans -then- 10x2 Banded Speed deadlifts Take a few minutes to find a reasonable work weight for Banded deadlifts. It will be in the 50-70% range of your best Deadlift... But use a weight that allows you to PULL FAST off the floor, and lockout fast, even with the band. Hold each lockout for a 3 count, and deload the bar between reps. Guys use the blue or red band, and girls use red. -then- 4 rounds for time: 400m run 500m row 60 double unders

CrossFit Envy posted on Facebook

Competitors Program Week 6, Day 3: 6x3 Power Cleans from the blocks @ 70-75% (at the knee or slightly above) -then- AMRAP in 10 minutes: (4,8,12...) toes to bar *unbroken 25' handstand walk after each round *if you complete the round of 24, then stop and mark the time -then- 4 rounds for time: 400m run 500m row 60 double unders

mindcoach published the post The Importance of Performance Goals on
I’ve written several posts and articles on the mental strength skill of goal setting, so this...
CrossFit West Petaluma shared a link on Facebook

Red, White, and Blue! http://blog.genesispetaluma.com/?p=2664

CrossFit Folsom Lake shared a link on Facebook

It's a new month! What are you going to do with it? These folks are making it happen! http://t.co/AJV8iYk8OR

CrossFit Davis shared an image on Facebook

June! Another great month at CFD!

Corey's Gym posted an article
CrossFit Petaluma shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Sacramento posted on Facebook

Attention All Members.....The gym will be open on the 4th of July from 8-10am. There will be 1 class at 8 and open gym at 9. The gym will be closed on Saturday July 5th. Have a great Holiday weekend!

CrossFit Davis shared a link on Facebook

New On Ramp starts tonight! We are running a new schedule now that allows you to start on any Tuesday and attend classes for 4 weeks! For more info visit www.crossfitdavis.com or send an email to info@crossfitdavis.com

CrossFit Echelon posted an article
CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

Who hit today's Swim WOD? If you missed it, have no fear. 5:30 and 6:30 classes are heading out soon. Get there!

Good Times CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

There's still time to sign up for the Rowing Clinic with Scott Frandsen on July 12th at 10am. Learn how to row with Power and Efficiency from the Olympian and Rowing Coach. $60 per person. Sign up at the gym.

CrossFit Genesis shared an image on Facebook

paleobutter published the post Paleo Chocolate & Amaretto Macaroons on Nutrition WOD
  Macaroons The legend of how amaretto liquor was first created is (oh man), so Italian...
Jefferson State CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Get your teams together now!

CrossFit Anywhere shared a link on Facebook

Let's Go USA!

North State CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

This Friday for Independence Day! we will be having a 10am Class ONLY with childcare. Wear your red, white, and blue and lets start the day off right!!!

CrossFit Redding posted on Facebook

4th of July CrossFit Redding Schedule: We will be running 3 WOD times 8a, 930a, 11a.

Another Level CrossFit posted on Facebook

For anyone who was wondering if the gym was going to be open on Friday the 4th of July..... We will be holding one 9AM class for anyone who wants to come get there WOD in before all the parties and family time start. =)

CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

Swim WOD fun with all the kids this morning!

Another Level CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Make a change in your life today!! Step outside of your normal box and explore something new.

CrossFit Genesis shared a link on Facebook

July 1, 2014 Workout of the Day #workout #crossfit #roseville

Dan Klug published the post Quick and Easy (5-Ingredient) BBQ Sauce on
Finding a relatively “clean” BBQ sauce can often be a more daunting task than the actual...
CrossFit Determination posted on Facebook

Strength: 1a) 4x:40 FLR 1b) 4x 8 pendlay rows WOD: 10-1 reps of Pull ups Power cleans

American River Crossfit posted on Facebook

CORRECTION: Special Hours on Friday, July 4th. 8am Group Class 9am Open Gym

CrossFit Campbell shared a link on Facebook

My fitbit #Fitstats for 6/30/2014: 25,136 steps and 11.2 miles traveled. http://t.co/lGgXoqQWii

CrossFit Campbell shared a link on Facebook

If you're always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you're in? #crossfitcampbell http://t.co/kxFRncZPR7

CrossFit Feather River posted on Facebook

Tuesday Class Schedule ~ > Endurance WOD @ 5:30am, 9am, 4:30pm & 6:30pm > Barbell Club @ 8am & 5:30pm Daycare Hours: 8am-10am & 5:30pm-7:30pm *All of our Tuesday Endurance WOD classes are FREE during the month of July!

emmagatman published the post How CrossFit Causes Injuries on
There’s a worrying trend among CrossFit participants, one that consists of frequent visits to the...
CrossFit CSA posted on Facebook

Strength: (20 minutes; 2-3 to a bar) Klokov Clean Complex * work up to a heavy set of the following complex, and please be certain to perform complex UNBROKEN: - 2X CLEAN PULLS -1X SQUAT CLEAN (hold in bottom of squat for 2 seconds) -1X PUSH PRESS (hold in arc position 2 seconds) -1x PUSH JERK WOD: 3 rounds Run 400m 30 WallBalls 20 MedBall Cleans (full hip extension and full squat every rep!)

CrossFit Valley View shared a link on Facebook

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV