Are you moving in a functional way?

Are you moving in a functional way?

All too often we get muscle stiffness, strains, sprains, injuries and everyday muscle aches…  When this typically occurs and reoccurs when training my regular clients, I tend to watch closely and analyze movement patterns during exercise and when needed refer clients to get a FMS (Functional Movement Screening) assessment/screening completed with Dennis Smythe of Smythe Fitness.  My belief is, if you cannot properly move efficiently within movement patterns or complete compound movements pain free then you should not be applying force or weight resistance to your training!

Here is some more details on what the screening entails, why you should get one done and how it can improve your body’s overall daily function!!

Get Screened, Correct your Patterns, Move Better!!

The Functional Movement Screen The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a screening tool used to evaluate seven fundamental movement patterns in individuals with no current pain complaint or musculoskeletal injury. The FMS is not intended to diagnose orthopedic problems but rather to demonstrate opportunities for improved movement in individuals.

The screen is designed to place an individual in extreme positions where movement deficits become noticeable if appropriate stability and mobility are not used. Even though individuals are performing an activity or sport at a high level, it has been observed that many of these same individuals are limited in fundamental movement. This leads to the use of compensatory movements in order to achieve or maintain the level of performance needed for the activity. The inefficient use of compensation during movement will lead to poor biomechanics that limit gains in performance and reduces the body’s ability to remain adaptable and durable against the risks of being involved in the activity or sport.

The 7 Movement Patterns


The Deep Squat pattern challenges total body mechanics and neuromuscular control. We use it to test bilateral, symmetrical, functional mobility and stability of the hips, knees and ankles. The dowel overhead requires bilateral symmetrical mobility and stability of the shoulders, scapular region and the thoracic spine. The pelvis and core must establish stability and control throughout the entire movement to achieve the full pattern.


The hurdle step pattern is an integral part of locomotion and acceleration. This movement challenges the body’s step and stride mechanics, while testing stability and control in a singleleg stance. The hurdle step requires bilateral mobility and stability of the hips, knees and ankles. The test also challenges stability and control of the pelvis and core as it offers an opportunity to observe functional symmetry.


The Inline Lunge pattern places the body in a position to simulate stresses during rotation, deceleration and lateral movements. The inline lunge places the lower extremities in a splitstance while the upper extremities are in an opposite or reciprocal pattern. This replicates the natural counterbalance the upper and lower extremities use to complement each other, as it uniquely demands spine stabilization. This test also challenges hip, knee, ankle and foot mobility and stability.


The Shoulder Mobility pattern demonstrates the natural complementary rhythm of the scapular-thoracic region, thoracic spine and rib cage during reciprocal upper-extremity shoulder movements. This pattern also observes bilateral shoulder range of motion, combining extension, internal rotation and adduction in one extremity, and flexion, external rotation and abduction of the other.


The Active Straight-Leg Raise pattern not only identifies the active mobility of the flexed hip, but looks at the core stability within the pattern, as well as the available hip extension of the alternate hip. This is not so much a test of hip flexion on one side, as it is an appraisal of the ability to separate the lower extremities in an unloaded position. This pattern also challenges the ability to dissociate the lower extremities while maintaining stability in the pelvis and core.


The Trunk Stability Push-Up pattern is used as a basic observation of reflex core stabilization, and is not a test or measure of upper body strength. The goal is to initiate movement with the upper extremities in a push up pattern without allowing movement in the spine or hips. The movement tests the ability to stabilize the spine in the sagittal plane during the closed kinetic chain, upper body symmetrical movement.


The Rotary Stability pattern is complex, requiring proper neuromuscular coordination and energy transfer through the torso. This pattern observes multi-plane pelvis, core and shoulder girdle stability during a combined upper and lower extremity movement. The movement demonstrates reflex stabilization and weight shifting in the transverse plane, and it represents the coordinated efforts of mobility and stability observed in fundamental climbing patterns.

Scoring Criteria The FMS uses a simplistic grading system. Each individual movement pattern has certain criteria that must be accomplished in order to obtain a high score. The scoring is broken down into four basic criteria:

Three is given if the individual can perform the movement without any compensations according to the established criteria

Two is given if the individual can perform the movement but must utilize poor mechanics and compensatory patterns to accomplish the movement

One is given if the individual cannot perform the movement pattern even with compensations

Zero is given if the individual has pain during any part of the movement
3 2 1 0

There are five movement patterns which require bilateral testing; this will result in two scores for those patterns. The lowest score is recorded for the final score; however, for assessment and data collection purposes, both scores are needed. Three tests: Shoulder Mobility, Trunk Stability Push-Up and Rotary Stability have clearing test associated with them that are scored as pass/fail. If a person fails this part of the test, then a 0 is given as the overall score.

To book in for a FMS session in studio today, email me at: [email protected]

Get Screened, Correct your Patterns, Move Better!!

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