The 7 Assessments of a Functional Movement Screen

The 7 Assessments of a Functional Movement Screen

The first installment regarding functional movement exercises espoused some benefits of this type of fitness training. In this installment, the focus will be on how the 7 assessments of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) can help you figure out where to begin.

Improving your fitness is akin to planning a vacation. Whether your goal is fat loss, increased sports performance, increased strength or just general well being, most people are very good at knowing where this point is or where they want it to be. They are however not very good at knowing where they start from. This is where the Functional Movement Screen can come in and help begin to get an idea of where they are starting at. While going through the 7 assessments of the Functional Movement Screen we can start to get an inventory of what the member has physically to start the journey. This is not much different than taking your car into to get checked before a road trip to ensure there are no issues. Another example is the pilot running through his checklist to assess the aircraft before having problems at 35,000 feet.

As mentioned in the first article the body does not move as a series of individual muscles but instead as an integrated entity and therefore should be assessed and trained as such. The 7 assessments of the Functional Movement Screen allow us to take stock of this and then find out how it fits into your fitness journey. We may see that someone does not have adequate shoulder mobility to do shoulder presses or pull-ups. We can then find a way to help them gain the proper mobility to in fact do so. It is not any different than a mechanic finding a wobbly wheel on your car. It may or may not give you problems while driving, but you do not want to find out while cruising down the highway at 80 MPH.

So here is a short list (far from all inclusive) of what we are looking for and how it relates to your fitness journey when doing the Functional Movement Screen.

1. Active straight leg raise:

During this assessment, we can evaluate hamstring flexibility in addition to other things. In a completely supported position, we can see how well someone operates in a single leg stance. We can begin to see how their core and hips operate while one leg is moving and the other stationary. This test has big implications for people who like to walk, run or bike. All activities are in essence single leg activities and thus require our core and hips to operate properly together so we can achieve efficient movement.

2. Shoulder mobility:

During the assessment of the shoulders, we can start to understand how well someone’s upper body moves. Does one side of the upper body move better than the other? The implications in the shoulder mobility are far reaching. Play tennis? Shoulder mobility is critical for allowing you to get into proper positions to do any stroke. Like running? Shoulder mobility helps create efficient running and keep good posture. Good shoulder mobility is also very important in weight lifting. It has an impact on almost all pressing and pulling movements as well as some exercises such as squats.

3. Trunk stability push-up (TSPU):

This is another big assessment. Obviously, we get to see the person’s relative upper body strength. However, we also get to see how well one’s core helps with creating efficient movement or if it creates an energy leak. Some implications for this are again running, a strong and efficient TSPU will usually mean there is very little upper body movement during the run and the person can keep a better posture. Interested in doing any big power moves in the gym? Doing Olympic lifts, kettlebell swings, deadlifts or squats will require you to demonstrate a pretty solid TSPU. Having a solid TSPU for these exercises shows that you can control your core and create the requisite tension needed.

4. Rotary stability:

The rotary stability test is similar to the TSPU assessment. We again see how the core reacts as we get both the upper and lower body moving, thus getting to see the “ying and yang” of mobility and stability in movement. The rotary stability test has implications in any activity where there is upper and lower body movement happing simultaneously.

5. Hurdle step:

The hurdle step is closely related to the ASLR test. We look at single leg stance and core work but this time in a loaded position. If you do any sort of running, biking, walking, etc., this will give us an idea of if your body has the balance and posture for such activities.

6. Inline lunge:

The inline lunge test begins to shed some light upon how well a person can handle deceleration or slowing down and lowering their body. So athletic activities such as tennis, basketball that require this skill as well as possibly getting down on the ground to play with kids or grandkids, gardening, etc.

7. Deep squat:

The deep squat is the last assessment. In this test can see some information about not only core strength but also some information about the mobility of your ankles and some stability in the shoulders. Implications in this assessment definitely carry over to anything requiring squatting and jumping.

All Elite Sports Clubs members get a free fitness assessment which can include a Functional Movement Screen. So, stop in the fitness center today to get started!

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Jason Liegl Certified Personal Trainer at Elite Sports Club - Mequon

Written by Jason Liegl, Certified Personal Trainer & AMP Program Director at Elite Sports Club – Mequon.

Jason re-joined Elite Sports Club-Mequon in 2008. He holds a BS in Fitness Management from UW-Parkside. Jason is a certified personal trainer through ACE. He is also certified by Titleist Performance Institute as a level 1 Golf Fitness Instructor, Functional Movement Specialist level 1, Functional Movement Systems level 1, Kettlebell Athletics level 1, and Precision Nutrition level 1 nutrition coach. Jason has experience in training athletes from almost every sport. His belief is that with a solid foundation and hard work, any athlete can get better!



This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

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