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Performing and Scoring the FMS

FMS – The S Stands for Systems

FMS is More Than a Screen

I recently attended the Perform Better Summit, and once again it was great. After each seminar or workshop I always try to think of the one biggest takeaway that I got from that particular event. After this summit I was most excited about how the FMS team is starting to talk more about the system.

I think we all the know the FMS as the Functional Movement Screen, but what most people don’t realize is that the FMS screen is part of a bigger FMS. Functional Movement Systems.

The FMS screen is just one part of a bigger system including the SFMA, Y Balance Test, and FCS. Let me quickly explain each one of these integral parts of the system.

Functional Movement Screen (FMS) – The FMS is the foundation screen in which the rest of the system was created. The FMS is your pre participation screen to see what your clients should and shouldn’t be doing. For the most part, the FMS should be done with people who are NOT in pain going into the screen. The goal of the FMS is to find any painful or dysfunctional movement patterns in order to make sure you don’t make things worse with a fitness or training program. There are different breakout screens for each of the movements in the FMS if you want to dig deeper into finding out how to quickly fix a compensatory pattern. The FMS is not a tool used to diagnose pain. That is what the SFMA is for.

Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) – The SFMA is an assessment system used by clinicians to dig deeper when client are in pain. When a trainer finds pain on the FMS it is great to have someone on the same page to talk with to be able to effectively help your clients. The FMS and SFMA compliment each other well as part of a bigger system. When a client has a SFMA clinician and an FMS trainer you can bet they are in good hands.

Y Balance Test (YBT) – I originally learned about the Y Balance Test quite a few years ago, but never really dug too deep into using it. Honestly, I said that I don’t want to use something that required another kit. That was a stubborn way to think, because the Y Balance is definitely worth the price of the kit. The biggest knock on the FMS is that it’s not comprehensive enough. Most people who say that don’t fully understand the screen, but in some ways those people are correct. Gray said over the weekend to think of the FMS as more of the mobility test and the YBT as more of the stability test. After doing just a few Y Balance Tests in the last week, I can already tell this information is the missing link for those few people who score satisfactory on the screen, but you can tell still need work. There’s not much more I can say about it at this time because I’m still a rookie, but you can bet I’ll be mastering the YBT in the near future.

Fundamental Capacity Screen (FCS) – The newest addition to the system as a whole is the FCS. This is more of your performance testing when needed. Once your clients are pain free, have cleared the FMS, and have acceptable Y Balance Scores, the FCS screen comes into play. This is honestly brand new stuff, and the company is still setting the standards, but I think this is a great compliment to the system. With the addition of the FCS, you have a screening and placement system from people that are broken down and in pain with the SFMA, all the way up to high performers with the FCS.

Those are quick explanations that really don’t do the entire system much justice. I highly recommend checking out functionalmovement.com and look into taking a course to get certified. That way you can start using a system with your practice, because things start to become clearer and easier the better the systems you use.

 

 

 

– Steve Long

 

PS – If you are thinking of becoming FMS Certified and want to do the online study course we have a great deal for you. Due to our great relationship with FMS we have secured a 10% discount for you on the FMS HSC. Just use coupon code SGT10 at checkout for the special SGT discount.

Here is a link to the FMS Home Study Course http://functionalmovement.com/store/fms_home_study_course

Breaking Out the Rotary Stability Screen

With our next breakout we are moving on the Stability Pod with the Rotary Stability Screen. I’ve definitely seen this screen scored incorrectly quite a bit, so even if you are not new to the FMS I highly recommend clicking the link below to watch a quick video on performing and scoring the Rotary Stability Screen.

Smart Group Training – Rotary Stability Performing and Scoring the FMS

So why do we use the rotary stability screen anyway? Why should you care if your client can do a bird dog over a board?

The rotary stability screen is the first of two screens in the FMS that check core function. We use the rotary stability screen to check “inner core” or “soft core” function and we use the trunk stability push up to check “outer core” or “hard core” function. The inner core is more of the reflexive core that requires subconscious timing and is the core that is rarely specifically trained in the gym. You can’t train your inner core with sit-ups, crunches, or planks. It needs to be reflexive and subtle.

So what do we do when someone scores a 1 on the Rotary Stability Screen on the FMS? What are we looking for? How should we break it out?

One thing to keep in mind when someone scores a 1 on the Rotary Stability is the FMS Hierarchy. It is important to note that if someone has a 1 on the Active Straight Leg Raise or the Shoulder Mobility screens, you are in the wrong place trying to work on the Rotary Stability screen. We want to get the mobility issues off of the table before working on this pattern so make sure that is the case before proceeding. So technically, the first two breakouts for the Rotary Stability screen are the Active Straight Leg Raise and the Shoulder Mobility screen on the FMS. The only mobility issues that should affect the Rotary Stability screen are:

The ability to extend the hip: This is covered in ASLR

The ability to flex the shoulder: This is covered in SM

The ability to touch the elbow to the knee: This should be covered if you have 2’s on both the ASLR and SM. If they have the mobility to pass the ASLR and they have the mobility to pass the SM but can’t touch the knee to the elbow in quadruped its most likely not a mobility issue, chances are it’s a stability issue, and we would be in the perfect place to start correcting the core. Sometimes it’s possible that the stomach is too large to touch the knee to the elbow as well, but this should be very rare.

So we should be in a place at this point where mobility is not an issue and we are deciding how to correct the Rotary Stability dysfunction. From here I will look at a few things

Breathing

Supine Breathing

Crocodile Breathing

Quadruped Breathing

Depending if the breathing needs work I will give them breathing exercises in the position that they are struggling with. You can see examples of those breathing corrections below in the breathing track.

From there I will look at their rolling patterns. I want to look at all four rolls to see what they can and can’t do and in the also determine which roll needs the most work.

Rolling

Lower Rolling

Upper Rolling


 

So here’s how it all works. If they can’t breath they go to the breathing track. If they can’t roll we go to the rolling track, and if they can roll perfectly in all patterns they go to the quadruped track.

 

Breathing Track

Supine Breathing

Crocodile Breathing

Quadruped Breathing

 

Rolling Track

Lower Rolling

Upper Rolling

 

Quadruped Track

Bubblegum Farts (Stability Ball Rockback)

Bird Dog Arms

Bird Dog Legs

Bird Dog

Bird Dog Hold

 

Once we get the pattern corrected and have symmetrical 2’s on the Rotary Stability Screen you want to incorporate that stability in some functional patterns such as:

 

One Leg Elevated Push Up (one leg elevated, one leg on floor)

½ Kneeling Chops and Lifts

Offset Deadlifts, Squats, and Carries

This is the strategy I use to dig deeper into Rotary Stability 1’s and get people’s cores working in synergy with their extremities. I hope this gives you a better understanding of the Rotary Stability Screen and what to do when someone has dysfunction in that pattern.

Breaking Out the Shoulder Mobility Screen

Recently I started a series on breaking out the screens on the FMS with my post on Breaking Out the Active Straight Leg Raise. If you haven’t seen that post you should check it out here.

With this post I’m going to break down something a little more complicated, shoulder mobility.  If there is one movement on the FMS that I get the most questions about the validity it would have to be the shoulder mobility screen. What most people don’t understand is that the shoulder mobility screen is NOT all that you need to know to determine if someone has proper shoulder function.  What is important to know is that when you get a red flag on the shoulder mobility screen you need to dig deeper and this post is how I do it. That being said, there are many ways to assess shoulder function, and honestly if you want to dig deep into shoulder function I would check out some stuff from Eric Cressey and Mike Reinold, but this is a great way to get you started.