The Functional Movement Screen (FMS)

We are going to dive deeper into the Functional Movement Screen or FMS. It was originally developed through research done by Gray Cook. It has been tested on many major league teams as well as the military and countless fitness facilities. This system of testing uses seven movements of the body to evaluate range of motion and imbalances. Gray determined that our muscle imbalances are often what lead to injury. This week we will be diving into the details of the seven exercises: the deep squat, active leg raise, hurdle step, shoulder mobility, inline lunge, rotary stability, and trunk stability push-up.

The deep squat is used to evaluate symmetry, function and mobility of the hips, knees and ankles. The deep squat is performed by placing the feet shoulder width apart and a rod overhead and then proceeding to squat in that position. In all of the movements of the FMS you are given a score based on your ability to perform the exercise and any deviations from proper form that you may demonstrate. This score is how your imbalances and risk of injury are determined. Through completing exercises that are squat progressions and regressions scores for the deep squat can be improved over time. Increasing flexibility and strength through exercise is how we program your plan of action at FASTER.

Active straight leg raise is performed to evaluate the function of the hamstrings and calves while maintaining the position of the pelvis. The test is performed by raising each leg with a flexed foot to the maximum point without compromising the starting position. Each leg is evaluated and scored based on the distance from mid-thigh to the placement of the ankle at maximum flexibility. You will find that many exercises will help improve all of your scores on the FMS. This is because the FMS is designed to evaluate your whole body and how well it moves!

The Hurdle step is used for evaluating stability along with hip, knee and ankle mobility. This is performed by standing on one leg and placing the opposite hip in full flexion by raising the knee and then proceeding to step over the FMS device. We evaluate the ability to perform the exercise, the placement of the foot while stepping and the ability to keep the torso straight while performing the exercise.

Shoulder mobility evaluates the range of motion in the shoulder and shoulder blade. This test is performed by measuring the distance between the hands when placed behind the back. The score is determined based on the length of your hand in comparison to the length of the distance between the hands on the back. The shoulder is a joint with a large range of motion and low stability which puts it at a high risk for injury. It is important to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder to protect the joint as well as to increase shoulder flexibility through motions that are not as strenuous as lifting. We have a variety of shoulder care exercises we regularly perform to help keep your shoulders healthy!

The inline lunge assesses balance, the torso, hips, knees and ankles. This is a more difficult exercise to perform properly and it is very crucial that it is done correct. The lunge is performed with the feet inline on the FMS board, a rod is placed on the back and a lunge is then performed and evaluated. Through performing various leg exercises and lunges this score can be improved.

Rotary stability assesses core stability and upper and lower body mobility. This movement is started with the person on all fours and the FMS board between the legs and arms. The same arm and leg on one side are raised outward and then brought together touching elbow to knee. The ability to perform this exercise successfully without excessive rotation is the major factor in the scoring. This is considered the most difficult of the testing and is not often performed at a perfect level. Core strength is key is proper execution of this movement.

Trunk stability push-up evaluates symmetry in core stability. It is executed by starting on the floor in the push-up position, touching the ground. From this position you push-straight up attempting to keep the body in perfect alignment. The places that deviate of the perfect alignment are where we find our muscular imbalances. Many different muscles can be evaluated during this one movement.

Once a baseline for performance is established the proper way to correct or maintain the range of motion through the movement can be determined. We make sure to use a variety of exercises that will help with any imbalances. It is very important to continue to perform a variety of exercises to keep all parts of the body strong. This is something that we emphasize at FASTER. We have designed programs that keep you trying new exercises constantly along with the key lifts that will assist in improving your functional movement scores, as well as your ability to perform your activities of daily living!

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