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Functional Movement System

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FMS is an American-based company that is bringing about a paradigm shift in how we conduct exercise and rehabilitation. FMS stands for functional movement systems, and it provides a tool to systematically identify movement limitations and asymmetries. To do this, it uses two different tools: the Functional Movement Screen and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). The SFMA is for people who have pain and should be conducted by a qualified healthcare provider. The FMS is also used to evaluate movement and can identify patterns that provoke pain. But it can be performed by a broader scope of individuals, including healthcare providers but also personal trainers, strength coaches, and exercise specialists, just to name a few.
The FMS is a relatively new service that we are providing at our Easy Gym and Gang Warily locations. You can contact one of our physios directly to schedule one, or we conduct these screens free and open to gym members at either location.
What is the Functional Movement Screen?

It is a series of 7 movement patterns that look at the basics of human movement. Three are in weight bearing; four are on the floor. Three involve the basic foot positions of sport; two are for flexibility; and two are for stability. For each movement pattern, we are looking for asymmetries between the right and left side or limitations in the ability to perform the pattern. Each pattern is given a score between 0 and 3, with a maximal score of 21, and an average score of 14-16.
Why does this matter and why would I want one?

The key with any exercise program is to get stronger or fitter without causing other problems. But what if that isn’t happening? What if you want to get back to running after a period of time away from it, but you don’t want to hurt yourself? Or what if you keep trying to return to the sport you love, but you keep causing the same injury over and over again or a different injury every time? There is a very good reason for this. You just may not know what it is yet. By using the FMS, we will look at the basics of human movement, and see how well you, as a human, move. You will have certain tests that are really easy for you and possibly others that seem next to impossible. But you are only ever as strong as your weakest link. The FMS will help us identify what this is so that we can help you change it, and thereby, change your outcomes.
Likewise, what if you regularly lift weights in the gym but you never seem to see a difference in your performance, whether that’s in a sport or simply with daily routines? Participating in an FMS can help you identify where your weaknesses are so that you can alter your workouts to address them. Doing what you are good at does not make you better. Doing what is hard until it’s not hard any longer does make you better. If you have limited movement patterns or are working around a pre-existing problem, you will never see the changes you are looking for. An FMS will help you identify where these limitations are and ways to change them. It also gives you objective measurable ways to judge your progress.
An FMS can also identify pain. You should not train on top of pain. Pain changes the way we move in unpredictable ways. Whether you realize it or not, pain causes you to compensate and move in less than efficient patterns. The pain needs to be resolved before a pattern is regularly repeated. This can only cause more problems. Additionally, sometimes, we have pain that resolves, but we don’t necessarily resolve our compensations. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we ever started to compensate in the first place, so we have no idea that we are moving in an altered way. An FMS can help us to identify patterns that cause pain. An SFMA or a qualified provider can help you to identify sources of pain.
To summarize, the FMS helps us to identify two main things. One, which aspects of movement need to be addressed to have the biggest impact on performance. Performance could be athletic performance, but it doesn’t have to be. It could also be squatting to retrieve items from a low shelf or reaching into an overhead cabinet or any other movement pattern that we use in everyday life. And two, it helps us to determine where a person might break down. It helps us see a potential for injury before that injury occurs, so we can stop the process and prevent it. In participating in an FMS, you will learn one of three things. Either, you are good; keeping doing what you are doing. Or, how to tailor a workout program to better meet your goals. Or lastly, that you have some underlying issues that you would be better off to address before increasing loads or repetitions. Hopefully, this has shed some light on the FMS, in general, and also, some of its benefits.