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What’s the Functional Movement Screen and How Can it Help You?

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is now available at CrossFit Slipstream! But what is the FMS and why have we added it to our toolkit? The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a series of ten movement challenges that identify any pain or other issues you may have with seven basic ways of moving the human body.  Once any issues have been identified, a plan can be established and followed to correct them.  Doing this will help you progress faster, more efficiently, and with reduced chance of injury.

When you no longer need to compensate for a missing piece of your movement puzzle, you will unlock your true potential.

Correcting these issues is important because human movement follows a simple pyramid of development:

fms-performance-pyramid

Movement fundamentals must be in place before athletic performance or skill can be trained effectively.  Otherwise, it’s like building a house on an unstable foundation – eventually, the problem in the foundation will bring the house down.  It’s hard to finish, let alone run your best 5k if a movement issue means you can’t stride properly.  Likewise, there is little point in attempting to learn highly-skilled movements such as good running technique if you have to stop every 10 steps to catch your breath. That would mean you lack endurance, a key performance fundamental.

fmscrossfitslipstream

Like fitness, human movement has a foundation, which are the basic mobility, stability, and motor control necessary for optimal movement.  The FMS screens for primitive mobility and stability, and also for the next higher level movements built on those elements. Those represent the different ways we can place our feet for the types of movements we do standing – on one-foot (stepping), on two feet symmetrically (squat) or two feet asymmetrically (lunge). By examining these movement patterns, we can identify and correct issues before they turn into injuries. And injuries, by definition, make us less fit. And that’s no fun.

Related: Why Motor Control Makes You Stronger

Your FMS result is a report that discusses any issues revealed by the Screen, and guides the plan of attack against them. First, we avoid loading any patterns that have difficulty. We need to address the issues creating those difficulties before we add load to the movement. Next, we work to remove the cause of the issue – is it hip mobility? Trouble holding your pelvis steady? Something else? We can then devise corrective strategies to help you correct your issue(s).

Related: How ROM Can Make You Fitter

This may be frustrating or difficult, and you may be tempted not to do the Screen to avoid interrupting your fitness “gainz”. But this temporary “sidetrack” is essential for avoiding injury and the genuine sidetrack it represents. Also, with greater confidence in your foundation, you will find it easier to challenge yourself on your performance and skill efforts, increasing your rate of overall progress and maximizing your “gainz”. When you no longer need to compensate for a missing piece of your movement puzzle, you will unlock your true potential. Without it, you will always be limited by what’s missing in your foundation.  The Screen consists of:

functional-movement-screen1

…plus three “clearing” tests to determine if the other tests caused an issue.  The full sequence takes less than 20 minutes.  The knowledge you gain from the screen is worth dramatically more than what it takes to do the Screen.  Email or see me at the gym to ask any questions you have about the Screen and how it can help you!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com