Functional Movement Screen

“It is possible for fit people to move poorly and unfit people to move well. Fitness quantity and movement quality are measured differently.”

-Gray Cook

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is at the center of the Functional Movement System created by Gray Cook et al. Its seven components evaluate movement patterns which are key parts of an active individual’s normal function. The screen serves as a predictor of risk: it identifies movement asymmetries and stability/mobility dysfunctions which increase injury risk and interfere with effective training.

The screen yields a numerical score which provides a benchmark: the score guides appropriate corrective exercise selection, and subsequent screens can be used to gauge progress towards cleaner, more symmetrical movement patterns. Corrective exercises can be worked into a warm-up or training program itself to improve the at-risk movement patterns; or they can be performed in and of themselves, to the same ends.

The FMS is a great tool for coaches of team sports and individual athletes alike. When used within a medical rehabilitation community versed in the system, it can be useful in coordinating different facets of care and guiding resumption of activities. It is also appropriate for any individual thinking about becoming more active, and wanting some insight into the state of their body so they can make informed decisions.

As Gray Cook says, “Pain changes everything.”  It skews the way the body operates.  For that reason, the one prerequisite for screening is that you be pain-free.