Just about all of us have dysfunction in the way we move. Personal trainer Ashley Whitson explains how the functional movement screen (FMS) can help us move better and avoid injury.
What Is the FMS?
It is a set of 7 tests that allows you to gauge how well you are performing basic movement patterns. You can use the results to retrain movement patterns for true mobility and stability.
What Are Mobility and Stability?
Mobility is the ability to move within a certain range of motion.
Stability is about timing and coordination. It is the ability to control a force or movement; it is a reflex.
Mobility and stability naturally develop as a child develops. Usually children do not have mobility problems but they need to learn how to stabilize. As children learn to move they do this through trial and error and the patterns or series of movements that are successful get stored in the brain. This is how we go from crawling to walking.
How Can We Have Dysfunction and Not Know It?
As we get older, [imbalances from] our preferred activities or even old injuries get stored in the body and we start to move dysfunctionally. We don’t realize this because the body is extremely adaptive and will do what it needs to do to achieve whatever task we may ask of it. In this way we start to compensate.
For example if there is an instability in the body, it will create artificial stability by locking down on a joint nearby. This causes stiffness. Now this is a short-sighted strategy the body is using and while it allows us to achieve a task in the moment, it will not hold up in the long run and may even cause injury.
Who Benefits From Doing the FMS?
Most people. Anyone beginning an exercise program or being discharged from physical therapy, and professional athletes. The only time the screen is not applicable is if someone has pain already or experiences pain when they are are doing the screen.
When this happens the trainer must refer a client to a clinician. And that person may use the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) which will dissect each of the major pattern dysfunctions from the FMS to find the cause of paint.