Sneak Peek at the Functional Movement Screen Level 1 Online Course

FMS and Musculoskeletal Health


Excerpt from the Manual

The Functional Movement Screen captures fundamental movements, motor control within movement patterns, and competence of basic movements uncomplicated by specific skills. It will determine the greatest areas of movement deficiency, demonstrate limitations or asymmetries, and eventually correlate these with an outcome. Once you find the greatest asymmetry or deficiency, you can use additional screens that are more precise if needed.

The original idea of the screen was to portray movement-pattern quality with a simple grading system of movement appraisal; it’s not intended to diagnose or measure isolated joint movement. Attempting to measure in isolation does a disservice to the pattern—the body is too complex to take isolated movements seriously in the initial stages of screening. This system was developed to rate and rank movement patterns in high school athletes, in an effort to determine who was ready to engage in higher-level activities in the weight room and on the field. However, during the two-year refining process, we discovered uses well beyond the original intended purpose, the information gathered from its use has broadened our scope of corrective exercise, training, and rehabilitation. The screen has taught us how to use it and helped us gain timely and valuable feedback from our attempts at movement correction.

Our collective expertise has come from working against the screen’s standard, not from modifying the screen every time things got confusing or inconvenient. We have changed the way we look at the screen data many times, but we have not changed the way we collect the information. In a way, this work represents our evolution, not that of the screen. The screen patiently waited for us to see and understand all it was providing in return for about 10 minutes' worth of time.

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

When the screen’s movements mimic athletic moves, it is merely a coincidence. The screen is not a training tool, nor is it a competition tool. It’s purely an instrument for rating and ranking movements.

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 a discovery of which patterns are problematic. The FMS exposes dysfunction or pain—or both—within basic movement patterns.

Many people are able to perform a wide range of activities, yet are unable to efficiently execute the movements in the screen. 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.