FMS: First Move Well, Then Move Often!

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was introduced in 2001 by a physical therapist named Gray Cook.  FMS was first explained in High Performance Sports Conditioning, a book that used latest training information to make good athletes great. In 2007, Cook introduced the concept of FMS to two NFL teams, the Bears and Colts. That year both teams went to the Superbowl! Unfortunately, that same year the Atlanta Falcons suffered 7 season ending injuries. However, in 2008, the Falcons new athletic performance director, Jeff Fisher, started instituting the FMS and functional strength. The rest is history…

First Move Well, Then Move Often!

The Functional Movement Screen is a predictive screen that focuses on the patterns, not the parts. It is designed to allow a professional such as a physical therapist, to assess the functional movement patterns of an individual. It’s comprised of 7 movement tests that require a balance of mobility and stability. The movement patterns place the individual in extreme positions where imbalance and weakness are easily exposed. The screen is scored out of 21, but a score of ≤ 14 increases the risk of injury by over 50%. A poor score is usually associated with compensatory movement patterns during regular activities that can lead to future injury. The FMS is a screen and not a training tool, but it bridges the gap between therapy and fitness.

5 Basic Principles of FMS

  1. Body weight movements patterns should not provoke pain.
  2. Limitation in movement can cause compensation. If you are unable to bend your knee while walking your hip will have to compensate to get your foot off the group.
  3. Movement patterns should be symmetrical. There should be equal input from the left and right side of the body.
  4. Fundamental movement capability should precede performance-based capability. Basic movement should be mastered and done properly before moving on to performance-based skills.
  5. Fundamental movement capacity should mostly proceed complex movement activity and complex skill training. This means an individual should be able to perform movement basics properly before moving onto complex training.

Goals of FMS

  • To identify movement pattern limitation and dysfunctions
    • Physical therapists can use information from the screen to prescribe individualized corrective exercises to normalize movement before it becomes an injury.
  • Address any movements that cause discomfort
  • Resolve asymmetry and serious limitations.
  • Create new patterns of functional movement

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FMS Tests

  1. Deep squat- used to test symmetry and mobility in the ankles, knees and hips. The squat is done with a dowel overhead and also gives information about the shoulders, spine and core.
  2. Hurdle step- this tests coordination and stability between the hips and torso. It also tests single leg balance and bilateral function of the hips, knees and ankles.
  3. In-line lunge- this is a lunge with a narrow base of support that tests the lower extremities and the ability to control the torso.
  4. Active SLR- tests leg flexibility, core and pelvis stability and coordination.
  5. Trunk stability push up- a standard push up. It is used to test core and spinal stability and symmetry in the upper extremity.
  6. Rotary stability- this test requires neuromuscular coordination, trunk stability and a combination and upper and lower extremity motion.
  7. Press up clearing test- this movement is similar to a yoga child’s pose and is used to screen for back pain.
  8. Shoulder mobility- this tests the mobility of the shoulder blade, shoulder joint and the upper spine.

*FMS is not intended for those with with pain, if pain is present SFMA is indicated.

FMS can spot movement issues and weakness before an injury occurs. If you are interested in learning more about FMS or having a screening done, give us a call today!

Contact us!

With Direct Access in NJ allows you to come in without having to see your Doctor, probably quicker than you could get that appointment, while also saving you both time and money!  

Please, call us to schedule your student’s evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!