Do FMS Correctives Really Work?

So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the FMS correctives and the strategies being used to help fix certain patterns.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked about the FMS correctives and how they don’t seem to work.  First off, let me begin by saying I am not one of those individuals.  I have been following their strategies for regaining movement compentecy, and quitre frankly…it’s pretty obvious their strategies work.  If they aren’t working for you, something is missing in the equation.

I am going to give my own interpretation of the FMS correctives and the process I follow with great success.  Basically, it all boils down to following a system with a heirarchy already in place.  This is going to be a basic interpretation of the system we follow on a daily basis with great success.

Our success system in regaining function back with acceptable movement patterning.  It may not always be perfect, but that’s not necessarily what we’re looking for.  However, this system has worked wonderfully for us eliminating most assymetrries within our clientele, and allowing them to do more with less likelihood of getting injured in the process.  Here is the step-by-step process we use to help regain movement compentecy:


1- Clear all mobility issues – We use many forms of self treatment like foam rolling, soft tissue work with lacrosse balls, stick work, and some other unique methods of releasing trigger points (some pretty cool tricks we use for TrP release will be in some upcoming articles…so stay tuned 🙂  If this isn’t quite enough, we recommend referring out to a clinician that can use some other modalities such as ART, dry needling, acupuncture, etc…

2- Stretching – This is time for some static or dynamic stretching.  I actually prefer getting some good static stretching in at this time, but we’ve seen success with both.  This is the point we’re trying to improve muscle tone and quality of tissue.

3- Patterning – After the mobility issues are clear and the body can move freely without restriction, now is the time to start patterning work.  This is where the beginning process takes place for motor learning.  We have to work our new found movement and tap into our innate movement patterns we were born with.  We also use the 4×4 Matrix to help follow a good progression with our patterning work taking an individual from prone/supine, to quadruped, to kneeling, to standing.

4- Static Motor Control – This is where we begin to “exercise” the pattern.  We want to put the individual in an environment that is controlled, but very “sensory rich”. We want the person to feel the movemtent and understand what we’re asking them to do. ASLR issues for example could be 1/2 kneel chops and lifts.  SM issues could be arm bars, shoulder packing drills, etc…

5- Dynamic Motor Control – During this phase, we are now starting to explore the new pattern and movement. We are looking for good control and competency with each exercise asked to perform. Basically, this phase starts to look like traditional strength programs.  We’re doing basic deadlifting work here. We’re starting to go overhead. We’re basically exploring our new environment and letting the motor development take place.

6- Strength (Time to Rip It!)  –  Now we’re in to the fun stuff.  We’re clear to get after it in this phase.  Own the movement and then begin to load it, and load it substantially. If you like the movement, lets start to strengthen it with some resistance.

So there you have it.  This is the process we use daily with amazing success.  We can’t tell you how long each phase will take.  We can’t give you sets and reps.  We can’t guarantee the same corrective strategies will work with absolutely everyone.  However, what we can guarantee is…if you follow this process, your ability to coach an individual into a desired chage becomes much easier.  Take the person from step one, gain compentecy at each step, and move forward.  Do not try to skip steps.  Take your time and work the system.

Some people may go through all 6 steps in one workout.  Honestly, some of our younger athletes can see a desired change in minutes.  Some of our older clients take some time though.  They may have years and years of poor patterning developed, so breaking those habits may take some time.  Work the system and get your clients better.  Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion with the FMS corrective strategy.