I’m referring to movement assessment as one that assesses the way to body moves and how you can use such an assessment to identify possible injury risk factors. The Functional Movement Screen is probably one of the most popular ones out there, and for a reason. It is a system that has been proven very effective. You test a movement pattern; if it’s dysfunctional or asymmetrical, you give the corrective drills. And then you retest. Simple enough, right? And if implemented the right way it is an invaluable tool that works to reduce the incidence of injuries, plain and simple.
But other than just screening movement patterns to help prevent injuries, the FMS might be seen in a bigger picture of the health and performance continuum…or should I say ‘should be seen’. I don’t think that many people in the strength and conditioning and athletic training community even know about the FMS. A couple of pro teams and colleges have actually started using it in different teams, but that’s about it.
Let me explain what I’m talking about when I say the FMS should be included in the bigger picture. The basic evaluation in pretty much any setting whether you’re dealing with pro athletes or just recreational athletes, is the physical. Everyone needs to pass a physical before engaging in an activity, and athletes usually need to get at least one every year to make sure they don’t have physical or physiological restrictions that could limit their performance or be dangerous to their health (e.g. cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems, joint problems, etc).
There is also another type of evaluation that usually goes on with athletes of different levels, and it’s the performance testing. Teams want to collect measurements of strength, speed, power and conditioning levels of their athletes (e.g. lifting tests, jumping tests, sprint tests, etc). And this is understandable because it is a good way to determine the level of fitness of each player on the team, and it can also serve as a basis of comparison between players.
But when you think of each step of the evaluation process, you can clearly find holes in that continuum. Athletes first get a physical to clear any disease or incapacitating condition, and then….right on to the performance testing. Is it me or there is something between the two that’s clearly missing? If you think about it for a second, wouldn’t it make sense to assess the way an athlete move before throwing him under the bus with max intensity performance tests? What if an athlete has major knee valgus during knee flexion? It is a position that puts your knees at risk for a serious injury…and we’re going to throw him under a 405 pounds bar to attempt a max squat, without any consideration for the very high risk of injury related to the way this athlete moves?
Including movement based assessments in the health/performance evaluation protocol only makes sense to me. But it shouldn’t be limited to a couple individuals who know the FMS and are willing to implement it on their own; it should become a staple, a part of the process, just like the physical and just like the performance tests.
The problem then becomes: how do we go about this?
Food for thought.
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