The Functional Movement Screen™
The Functional Movement Screen™ (FMS) is a predictive injury and assessment tool used to identify those who are most at risk to injure themselves in the during training or competitive events. It was specifically designed to point out weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries and limitations in athletes that can cause compensatory movement patterns leading to poor biomechanics, overuse injuries, and possible catastrophic musculoskeletal injuries in the future.
Functional Movement Screen has been around since the late 1990’s. It was developed by Gray Cook, a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist, and Lee Burton, who holds a PhD in Health Promotion and Wellness. Since it’s inception it has since been adopted as an assessment and injury prediction tool for sections of the United States military and government offices, local fire and police departments, and throughout the country for high school, collegiate, and professional athletic teams.
What are the tests?
The FMS is a ranking and scoring system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function. Your instructor will guide you through seven different fundamental movement patterns that places an individual in extreme positions where weaknesses and imbalances become noticeable. The instructor then gives you a baseline score based on your performance in those seven movement patterns.
The tests are:
- Deep Squat:
The client stands with feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. With a dowel held overhead with both hands as pictured, the client squats as deep as possible, holds the position for a count of one, and then returns to the standing position. This test can identify poor core stability, limited flexion in the ankles, knees and hips and/or limited mobility of the thoracic spine.
- Hurdle Step:
A string (hurdle) is positioned between two dowels at a height equal to the client’s tibia. The client stands tall with the feet together and toes touching the test kit. The client places a dowel behind the neck, and while maintaining an upright position, raises one leg over the hurdle, while maintaining foot alignment with the ankle, knee and hip. The client touches the floor with the heel and then returns to the starting position while maintaining proper alignment. The test is then repeated with the opposite leg. This movement tests for bilateral mobility and stability of the hips, knees, upper torso and ankles.
- Inline Lunge:
The client stands on a 2 x 6 in a split stance, with one foot in line with the other. With the dowel held behind the back as pictured, the client performs a lunge, while maintaining an upright posture, before returning to the starting position. Spine stabilization problems, and limited mobility with the hips, knees, and ankles can be identified with this test. The test can also expose a lack of flexibility in certain muscles in the back and the quadriceps (front of the upper leg).
- Shoulder Mobility:
The client makes a fist with each hand, and then simultaneously reaches over the head and down the back with one fist while reaching up the back with the other fist. The distance between the fists is measured. Decreased shoulder joint mobility can be identified with this test. It can also identify stability and mobility issues with the scapula (shoulder blade) in relation to the thorax (chest).
- Active Straight-Leg Raise:
The client lays flat on the back, with toes pointing upward and arms next to the body, with palms up. The client lifts one leg as high as possible, keeping both legs straight. This test can assess the client’s ability to maintain stability in the pelvis and core, while disassociating the lower extremities. It can also identify flexibility problems with the hips and hamstrings, and other surrounding muscle groups.
- Trunk Stability Push-up:
The client lies face down and places the thumbs in line with the forehead (men) or chin (women). The client then performs a push up, while maintaining a rigid torso. This test primarily tests the client’s ability to stabilize the spine using a variety of core muscle groups.
- Rotary Stability:
The client assumes a position on the hands and knees. The client then simultaneously extends the right arm and right leg, and then without touching down, the right elbow is brought to the right knee, until they touch, directly over the 2 x 6. If the client is unable to perform this test, then it may be completed while activating opposite limbs. This test can expose poor reflex stabilization of the trunk and core, as well as comprised mobility of the knee, hip and shoulder.
The scoring system:
How will this test improve my performance or help prevent injuries?
The test itself is strictly used to identify areas of asymmetry, weakness or imbalance that can lead to injuries or dysfunction in movement patterns. The real value is that someone trained to administer FMS can use the results to prescribe corrective exercises designed to correct those faulty movement patterns, therefore decreasing their propensity for musculoskeletal injuries and improving athletic performance. We recommend following 2-3 weeks of performing the corrective exercises, then re-taking the test to see the difference and receive a new score.
Where can I get more information on FMS?
You can visit the Functional Movement Screen website or click on an article below on the FMS and it’s benefits:
- What I Look for in an FMS Score by Gray Cook (founder of FMS)
- How Notre Dame Football Uses The FMS by FMS
- Injury-Proofing Your Body With The Functional Movement Screen by Linsay Way
- How Could the Functional Movement Screen Fit with CrossFit? by Gray Cook
- Sports Science Update: The Functional Movement Screen from Competitor.com
- The Whole Body Fix from Runner’s World
- NBA Pre-Draft Assessments and the FMS by FMS
How much does it cost?