Last week, I was one of the vendors at a local health and wellness fair. At the table next to me was a physical therapy office performing free functional movement screens.
I watched as they tested strength, balance and core stability through a series of exercises. I joked with them that I needed to have the test done but was afraid of what I would find! I knew pregnancy had thrown my body out of whack, plus I always have tight hamstrings and calves.
When the evening was wrapping up, I ventured over. They watched me do squats and lunges. I had to step with one leg over a knee high rope without bumping it. On all fours in my nice black pants and flats, I was supposed to shift my weight to the left with my right arm and leg raised, then switch. They tested core strength with the bird dog and pushups with my thumbs up by my chin. We wrapped up with hamstring and calf flexibility. (You can see a complete list of the exercises here.)
Yes, NJ Surf Fitness brought surf boards along, too!
Then it was time to tally the results. A score under 14 suggests that you are at a higher risk of injury. I squeaked by with exactly a 14! Obviously, I have some work to do. My weaknesses include:
- weak hips (pregnancy made this worse)
- tight hips, hamstrings and calves (as evidenced by my struggle to do a deep squat with feet flat)
- core could be stronger (again, worsened by pregnancy)
I feel like I do a lot of core exercises and I incorporate full body strength training at least twice a week so I didn’t like hearing that I wasn’t as strong as I thought. This was a good reminder how important it is to identify our imbalances so we can focus specifically on those.
4 Benefits of a Functional Movement Screen (FMS)
Functional movements are considered the foundation to any sport or exercise. Many individuals begin an exercise routine without identifying or understanding how capable their body is of the movement they are requiring of it. If you perform with dysfunctional movement, your abilities are impaired and you risk injury.
The FMS documents movement patterns critical to normal function. It identifies muscle imbalances, tightness and weakness by examining the mobility and stability of the hips, core, knee, shoulders, spine and ankles. Rather than just looking at posture or flexibility, this test considers dynamic movements to identify how you move when in motion.
It’s not meant to be a diagnostic tool necessarily, but an objective assessment of how your body moves. If you’d like to have the test done, ask a local chiropractor, personal trainer or physical therapist if they are trained in the Functional Movement Screen.
Do you know your weaknesses?
Have you ever had a Functional Movement Screen done?