There’s been a bit of chat recently around the FMS, some web based to-ing and fro-ing of opinions. For me it kind of reminds me of watching wrestling when I was growing up, and to be honest I find it all a little bit painful to watch/listen to. Using the FMS can be useful to give an idea of movement abilities and some issues, and it will suit certain situations. The thing about it though is that you can think for yourself and can change it to suit your own needs.
For example I work with one person who is 70 years old and he wants to improve his skiing. For him, getting into an overhead squat isn’t going to happen and even then he does it once, what does that tell me? It tells me he can overhead squat once, he has decent mobility and good postural control…for 1 rep. Instead of that I use a squat with hands in front for reps, once we hit a 20 rep target we change, progressing to split position and lateral squats and then, hopefully, to lunges. It gives me an idea of the mobility and postural control over time, and some idea of strength and metabolic abilities. It’s a form of functional movement screen (without the trade mark at the end).
I was reading/watching some pieces about a Quotidian Movement Screen that Matt Price in Canada is using which is certainly very interesting and is another way you can utilise a movement screen, especially with a group of athletes you see very regularly. I also like some of the bits Vern Gambetta talks about regarding overloading a system to see it break down, taking the athlete out of their comfort zone. One of the best movement screens I find is to get someone to run fast. If possible film them in frontal and sagittal planes and watch in slow motion, you will very quickly get to see where the issues are. Plus it has transfer as most sports involve running quickly. Watch side on and you’ll quickly pick up on pelvic tilt, postural control and flexibility issues. Watch from behind and you can see ability to control transverse plane movement as well as other flexibility and postural control abilities. It’s a hurdle step, lunge, rotational control, core strength and hamstring length screen in one.
The FMS will suit certain situations and scenarios and it does give some quantitative data. But I also don’t think we should be afraid to work in the qualitative environment. If you can take video and have access to dartfish (or other video analysis software) then getting joint angles and ranges of motion is great. If not or if time is for that kind of analysis is an issue, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with comparing before and after videos by eye, particularly in earlier stages of development where progression is greater.