Getting a 14 on the FMS: Is It Enough?

Any reliable personal trainer, strength coach, or physical therapist has an assessment that they use (and more likely more than one) in order to understand people’s asymmetries, restrictions, and overall quality of movement.   Some of these assessments are based on strength (ie 5RM bench press), power (vertical jump), or agility (5-10-5).  The previous is more of a performance assessment while the one I will be going into detail is based on movement quality.  The one that provides the foundation for where we can build upon on all strength qualities (power, acceleration, deceleration, speed, etc..) most effectively is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  No matter what meathead juicer at Planet Fitness says, in order to pursue your goal most efficiently they need to move well first or limit the restrictions that can be found in something like the FMS.  Without seeing one’s movement quality is like shooting at a target blindfolded, you really just don’t know where to start in order to attain the goal you are looking for.  There are more in-depth assessments such as PRI, or the classic isolated joint range of motion tests that I am increasingly trying to learn but for me, the FMS is here to stay and something that ANY strength coach or personal trainer should know.

Those that do not know what the FMS is, take a quick read here

They cover the 7 basic human movements with a scoring sheet (each movement is scored either 0,1,2, or 3). 3 is perfect movement, 2 is with some kind of compensation, 1 is if you cannot perform the movement adequately at all and 0 is scored if it causes pain.  If it tests your left and right sides (hurdle step, rotary stability, active straight leg raise, in-line lunge, shoulder mobility) you score each side separately and then take the lowest score (ex: L shoulder=1, R shoulder=2 Total: 1) and add up all. It has been researched that a score of 13 or below could mean an increased chance of injury (best score you can get is 21).  Common sense comes into play as well, typically when our athletes or clients score that low it is glaringly evident that if it looks really bad, then as the coach we need to get it to a baseline level (2’s), similar to what we should be doing with training.  Case in point, I have had friends do the shoulder mobility portion of the screen and they cannot even get their hands over and behind their head without some compensation.  I think we can all agree that this is a major, major problem. I do want to say that I am not FMS certified and do not have the in-depth understanding that is needed to be a master-jedi but I do have a basic foundation of the movement screen and what we are looking for. I just wanted to shed some thought on the FMS and on the score which I found to be very interesting.  If anyone has ever FMS’ed anyone and they score a 14..is it good enough to simply get a 14?  What we do know is that there are many ways to get to 14.  The standard is get symmetrical 2’s across the board.  That is what we want to attain to clear them for training whatever we want.  However, from reading the forum post, it was cool to learn that you can have a perfect 21 and that that score  may not have any “added injury prevention benefits (Joe Heiler-the man by the way).”  With that said, there needs to be a baseline level of good movement (aka start learning about the FMS) and as strength coaches we should also strive for good movement in all the aspects of training we provide or athletes and clients.  If it looks like crap then we need find ways to fix it.

If anyone wants to chime in on the FMS please do.  I definitely need to learn more.

Cheers,

Matt



Categories: Injury Prevention

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