Ask the Doc: The Functional Movement Screen

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
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

paleobutter published the post Paleo Paella on Nutrition WOD
This is a Paleo version of the Valencia style of paella. Adaptions include smoked/ grilled chicken...
CrossFit Shadyside shared a link on Facebook

http://crossfitshadyside.blogspot.com/2014/09/wednesday-91014.html

CrossFit Advance posted on Facebook

For those of you with smartphones there is a free app you can download to automatically calculate your weights for this new strength cycle. Search "Wendler Calculator" or "5/3/1 Calculator" all you have to do is enter you 1 Rep Max and make sure the "use 90%" is activated, and it will tell you what whats to use.

J. Humenay published the post Answering The Question - "Why Do You Lift?" on Tabata Times
Recently, I've been asked the question, "Why do you do Olympic lifts? There are so many other ways...
CrossFit Pittsburgh posted an article
CrossFit Integrated Fitness shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Old Town shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Pittsburgh posted on Facebook

Available right now: 1 pair of Men's Cordura WOD Shorts Size 33" Retail $60.00 yours for $40.00.

astewart30 published the post Size Doesn't Matter on
From the time I was 10 years old I have been aware of my size. I have always known how much I weigh...
CrossFit KSX posted on Facebook

Tuesday's Workout Strength: 10 min EMOM 3 Deadlift @ 70% of 3RM Conditioning: 12min EMOM 3 Power cleans 155/115 5 strict pull-ups Rest 2 min: 3 rounds of: 1 min elbow plank 45 sec max supermans 30 sec Russian twist with weight 20/15 * 30 sec rest between rounds*

CrossFit Iron City posted on Facebook

This week's challenge is: 3 min AMRAP of 20 DU's Jason L. already has 2 wins down, who is going to take the top spot this week?

CrossFit Center City shared a link on Facebook

#DIDYOUKNOW that CFCC offers Custom Fit Meals? These fresh, healthy meals are a great option for weeks when you're especially busy. They offer a huge menu that rotates week to week, and there's no commitment required. Use code CENTERCITY to take 10% off your first order. If you're thinking about participating in the #cfccrecharge or are struggling to find healthy options on-the-go, give CFM a try! #nutrition #paleo #paleoish http://crossfitcc.com/a-new-option-for-healthy-convenient-eats-at-cfcc/

CrossFit Center City shared an image on Facebook

Don't forget we are holding a 2 hour introductory Strongman clinic on Sunday September 28th. Link to sign up is in the comments. Email Record at record@crossfitcc.com if you have any questions about it and remember it is open to both CFCC member and non-members!

CrossFit Prime posted an article
CrossFit Prime posted an article
CrossFit Athletics posted on Facebook

SFH Fish Oil and *new* pure protein (without Creatine) is in stock!! Get it while it's hot.

Kristy Parrish published the post How Julie Foucher Became Julie Foucher on
Editor's Note: "How Julie Foucher Became Julie Foucher" was originally posted to the Beyond the...
WhatWouldJohnMackEat published the post Portuguese Style Littleneck Clams on
Littleneck clams are hands down my favorite seafood. I eat them raw, steamed or cooked Portuguese...
CrossFit Prime posted an article
CrossFit Focus shared an image on Facebook

Jeremiah swinging the kettlebell with authority.

CrossFit Focus shared a link on Facebook

You don't get what you want - you get what you work for.

Breaking Point Fitness CrossFit Ridge Ave posted on Facebook

Tuesday 9/9/14 15 mins to work to heavy Snatch deadlift + snatch pull + snatch For time: 10 power cleans 185/125 20 burpee over bar 30 toe 2 bar 200ft farmers carry 55/35 30 toe 2 bar 20 burpee over bar 10 power cleans

CrossFit Center City shared a link on Facebook

Learn all about the newest cycle leading up to the CrossFit Total on Halloween! Deadlift and Strict Press Tuesday tomorrow! http://crossfitcc.com/workout-of-the-day-tuesday-9-9-14/

CrossFit RDU shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Invoke shared an image on Facebook

Body Comp Challenge is in full swing. Be sure to make these next 12 weeks worth it! #cfinvoke #cfiathlete #cfibootycamp #crossfit #bodycomp #fat #relentlesslife #weighin #eatright #nutrition #goals #progress

CrossFit King of Prussia posted an article
CrossFit RDU posted an article
CrossFit Gastonia shared a link on Facebook

Tuesday's WOD http://www.crossfitgastonia.com/w-o-d

CrossFit Delaware Valley shared an image on Facebook

6pm cleanin' and dubbin'!

CrossFit Delaware Valley shared an image on Facebook

N'Sync! (See what I did there? Lol)

Breaking Point Fitness CrossFit Ridge Ave shared a link on Facebook

There is still space left to register for the Carl Paoli seminar at CrossFit Ridge Ave on September 20th from 9am-5pm. The seminar is $295 with discounts offered for CF Level 1 Certified Trainers, Educators, Military/Fire/Police/Rescue and USA Gymnastics members! https://freestyleconnection.pushpress.com/open/event/freestyle-connection-seminar---philadelphia-pa

CrossFit 77 shared an image on Facebook

What an awesome start to our Let's Move class on Saturday September 6! Remember this class is free every Saturday from 10:30-11:30 bring your kids and their friends! We can't wait to see the turn out for this Saturday!

CrossFit Focus shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit 77 posted on Facebook

George just PR'd his back squat by 50lbs! 365# like a champ!

CrossFit Wake Forest posted on Facebook

9/9/2014 WOD: Push Press 3-3-3-3-3 Use the heaviest weight you can for each set. Rest as needed between sets. Then: 4 rounds for time of: Run, 200 m 10 Kettlebell Swings

CrossFit Wilmington posted an article
CrossFit Harrisburg posted on Facebook

Tues Back Squat (3x4 @ 80%, then 1 set for max reps) 15 mins to complete Metcon (Time) 4 Rounds 200m Run 40 double unders 300m Row Rest 1 min 2 for 1 du subs

CrossFit Invoke posted an article
CrossFit Focus posted on Facebook

Tons of new skills discovered for the 6 p.m. group today, especially those double-unders!

CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
CrossFit Main Line posted an article
Raleigh CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Wilmington shared an image on Facebook

Everyone loves HSPUs @cfwilmington #wantmoredomore #strongereveryday

CrossFit LKN shared an image on Facebook

Big 9 am class this morning!

CrossFit Love shared a link on Facebook

9.9.14 http://bit.ly/1tFrlIx

CrossFit Love shared an image on Facebook

The Olympic Weightlifting seminar with Diane Fu is almost here! Have you registered?! Learn more about the Olympic lifts and what mistakes you may be making that are holding your PRs back! Check out the details and register TODAY! http://bit.ly/NtByob

CrossFit Wilmington shared an image on Facebook

Great job to Alison and all of our new members this summer!

judyjudyjudy published the post Why The Box Is Not Like Any Old Gym- Facing Fear and Finding Beauty At Crossfit on
"He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear. " ~Ralph Waldo...
Raleigh CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Main Line shared an image on Facebook

Beginning this week, YOGA will be offered at 10:30am on Tuesdays at CFML and Thursdays at CFR5. Come join us!

CrossFit Durham posted on Facebook

Welcome back to CFD athlete, and recent new MOM, Rachel Mason!

CrossFit RDU shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit RDU shared an image on Facebook

We will have WODbody Sports Massage in house here at CrossFit RDU this coming Wednesday. Appointment slots will be available from 3pm-8pm in 30min sessions or more. There will be a sign up sheet on the whiteboard. Check them out and we may make it a permanent fixture! $35 - 30 minutes $45 - 40 minutes $55 - 50 minutes $65 - 60 minutes

CrossFit RDU posted an article
CrossFit Exchange shared an image on Facebook

Achieving Excellence through competition helps us break through our own boundaries. From the coaches desk we are all proud of the athletes that came out, and more importantly for all of your help and support.

CrossFit Delaware Valley shared an image on Facebook

Ladies - check this out!

CrossFit Durham shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit 910 shared an image on Facebook

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV