The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) at
The Spine & Health Center of New Jersey

What is F.M.S.?

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) if a tool developed by Cook and colleagues in 1997 to help clinicians and health care professions screen individuals for risk of injury and / or a dysfunctional or performance-limiting movement pattern. The FMS was first presented commercially as a manual for screening athletes and the product line was later expanded to include a range of equipment for performing the screen, certifications for those screening athletes, seminars, books, and videos. 

The FMS is a tool used to identify asymmetries which result in functional movement deficiencies. The FMS aims to identify imbalances in mobility and stability during seven fundamental movement patterns. These movement patterns are designed to provide observable performance of basic locomotor, manipulative and stabilizing movements by placing an individual in extreme positions where weaknesses and imbalances become noticeable if appropriate mobility and motor control is not utilized. Once these deficiencies have been identified through the FMS, a program of corrective exercises is then developed with the goal of preventing musculoskeletal injuries.


The FMS consists of seven movement patterns which require mobility and stability. The seven following movement patterns are scored from 0-3 points, with the sum creating a score ranging from 0-21 points.

The FMS sum score is positively associated with increased physical activity and negatively associated with higher BMI, age, and the presence of breathing pattern disorders. It is not associated with previous injury, athletic ability, postural stability, time within the competition season, or gender.


Many investigations have found that the odds of experiencing an injury are higher in subjects who score <14 points on the FMS sum score. However, there is considerable variation between studies in the reported results.


Although it has been suggested that the FMS can measure efficiency of movement (and this implies athletic performance), the FMS sum score is not associated with either level of athletic performance or ability in athletic tasks, such as sprint running, agility or jumping.


Various different exercise programs appear to improve FMS sum score, including yoga, resistance training, functional training, and general military training. However, since the improvements are lower than the mean difference to be considered real, care should be taken in interpreting the results.

 

F.M.S. vs. S.F.M.A.

Many clinicians confuse the Functional Movement Screen tool with the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). Both tools are a part of the same Functional Movement System created by Cook and colleagues, but their fundamental purposes are quite different. The SFMA is meant to be used in a diagnostic capacity, designed to identify musculoskeletal dysfunction among individuals affected by pain. Whereas the FMS is a screening tool, not intended for diagnosis. The FMS aims to identify imbalances in mobility and stability during functional movements.

F.M.S. Movement Patterns

The FMS consists of seven movement patterns which require mobility and stability. The seven following movement patterns are scored from 0-3 points, with the sum creating a score ranging from 0-21 points.

  • Deep Squat
  • Hurdle Step
  • In-Line Lunge
  • Active Straight-Leg Raise
  • Trunk Stability Push-Up
  • Rotary Stability
  • Shoulder Mobility

In most populations, the FMS sum score ranges between 13 – 15 points, and many trials have reported norms of around 14 points. 

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