October 17, 2023 By BridgeAthletic

Minimize Pain and Amplify Progress with FMS


This post has been adapted from a more detailed article that appears in BridgeAthletic’s new ebook called “Raising the Bar: How World-Class Coaches Elevate Their Programming”. You can download the complete eBook for free to get tips and advice from experts at Exos, FMS, Hyperice, Results Fitness, and more.


Functional Movement Systems or FMS is considered to be a pioneer in the world of movement with the mission of "Move Well and Move Often". Co-founder of FMS, Dr. Lee Burton, has nearly 30 years of experience in the fields of sports medicine and strength and conditioning.


As a Certified Athletic Trainer and CSCS, he consults with professional sports organizations and industry-leading fitness facilities on injury prevention and performance enhancement. In this post we will explore how FMS helps trainers and coaches identify movement dysfunctions, allowing for targeted program design.


The Foundation of Performance


Movement screening is crucial for trainers and coaches to assess mobility and stability, ensuring clients can perform fundamental movements effectively. Identifying movement dysfunctions through screening helps determine what should be included or excluded from a client's program. Musculoskeletal problems, such as low back pain, affect a significant portion of the population, but they are often overlooked goals in fitness programs.

"What we don’t include in the program is often even more important. If a person struggles with basic movements such as lunging, then loading or stressing that movement will only create bigger problems.  Movement screening helps us identify those areas of dysfunction and address them more quickly."

Unfortunately, injuries during exercise have been increasing, emphasizing the need to prioritize injury prevention and protect clients' musculoskeletal health. By focusing on proper movement and avoiding activities that could cause harm, trainers can enhance performance and minimize the risk of injuries, ultimately promoting long-term success.


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The Basics of Human Development


The natural process of human development, from mobility to stability, is the foundation of Functional Movement Screen (FMS). FMS assesses key areas like the spine, hips, and upper body using basic patterns, and evaluates how clients use mobility and stability in more complex movements like squatting, lunging, and stepping.


FMS screening takes 10 minutes and scores seven movements on a 0-3 scale based on specific criteria. Pain is a zero, one means protection and correction, two is acceptable with minor compensations, and three is optimal.


The FMS is a vital tool for enhancing our clients' movement foundation while simultaneously working towards their goals. It allows us to prioritize injury prevention and ensure that our clients experience optimal results from our programming. Without this foundation, the risk of injuries is heightened, which is something we cannot afford to overlook. By gaining additional insight into our clients' movements, we can make informed decisions that would otherwise take months to implement.


Customizing Programs from FMS Results


FMS results help customize programs. For instance, a weight loss client with poor push-up and squat patterns should focus on fundamental movements before progressing to higher-level exercises, such as lunges, split squats, and deadlifts.


For a marathon runner with pain during the single-leg stance, it's important to investigate and address the cause with corrective exercises and temporary reduction of running, rather than relying on pain medication, as pain disrupts successful movement.


Golfers with limited shoulder mobility and asymmetry must address their movement foundation for optimal golf-related goals. They should avoid overhead presses and focus on building rotary and trunk stability, engaging in push-ups, plank variations, and lower-body strength training while improving shoulder mobility. Customized programs based on FMS results optimize performance and minimize risks.


Bridge the Gap


The integration of FMS scores into the BridgeAthletic Platform allows for a more personalized approach to programming. By identifying movement dysfunctions through screening, trainers and coaches can design targeted correctives and movement patterns to improve their clients' movement foundation and prevent injuries. The platform dynamically updates recommendations as FMS scores improve, allowing for continuous optimization towards the client's goals.


This combination of movement screening and technology ensures that clients receive the most effective and safe programming possible, ultimately leading to long-term success.


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About the Author


At Bridge, we are all athletes and coaches first. As athletes, our team has experienced everything from riding the pine on JV, to winning NCAA championships, to competing in the Olympic Games. As coaches, we have helped countless athletes reach their full potential, winning everything from age group section championships to Olympic Gold Medals.

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