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rotary stability

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


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.


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.

Rotary Stability – Red to Green Series

Next in our Red to Green Series we bring you the Rotary Stability Screen. When someone has a 1 on the rotary stability screen it’s a sign that their inner or “soft” core is not optimally functioning. The client may either have poor timing of the core, overall weakness, or an asymmetry.

In this circumstance, we want to make sure that we red light power movements like cleans and snatches, and anything explosive like jumping or running. It’s also best to avoid a lot of hard bracing exercises until the have the ability to easilty fire the inner core (reflexive firing) before the outer core (bracing for load). Honestly, is best to keep these clients on the floor as long as possible until you get the rotary stability dialed in to 2’s on the FMS.

The good news is, we have a few great exercises to get your rotary stability dialed in, and a few exercises to challenge it once you do.

Learn how to perform and score the Rotary Stability Screen below

Rotary Stability Performing and Scoring the FMS

Our third video in the Performing and Scoring the FMS series we bring you the Rotary Stability. The rotary stability screen is one of the hardest movements to score a 3, and also one of the screens that is most commonly scored incorrectly.

This one isn’t as easy as the Active Straight Leg Raise Screen and Shoulder Mobility Screen because it’s more than just a measurement.  Make sure that you are scoring the rotary stability screen correctly by checking out our video below.

It’s that simple!

We make sure that all of our clients have at least symmetrical 2’s before doing most major lifts and especially any dynamic or power exercises.  Inability to perform 2’s on the rotary stability is an inability to control the “soft” or “inner” core, and the client would need more ground based core training before moving on to advanced exercises.

Check out the blog next week when we will bring you the Trunk Stability Pushup Screen to check that “hard” or “outer” core firing.