Functional Movement Screening - How It's Vital For You As A Runner

Have you ever heard of Functional Movement Screen or FMS? It is a process of screening the “core” strength and body coordination that was invented back in 1997 by Gray Cook and Lee Burton. At present, it is widely known in the sports community and is practiced by trainers, coaches and therapists. At Bounce Exercise and Physiotherapy Clinic we provide a dedicated Functional Movement Screen for runners. Click here to learn more.

How does FMS work?

The goal of a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is determine an athlete's level of injury risk. 

The Functional Movement Screen has seven (7) movements that focuses on both mobility and stability.

Each of the movements is scored from zero (0) to three (3).

  • Zero (0) translates to Pain During Movement
  • One (1) translates to Failed Movement Pattern
  • Two (2) translates to Passed But With Some Compensations
  • Three (3) translates to Pass With No Compensations

Depending on age and fitness level, the average score ranges from 13-15 out of a total score of 21. If an athlete scored 1 on any screen, it means that that movement should not be trained but it should be corrected. A physiotherapist should perform an evaluation when an athlete scores 0. A core of 1 on one side and 2 on the other side should be immediately be corrected as these are movement dysfunctions.

It is important to note that the Functional Movement Screen is used to rank or rate the durability of an athlete. It is not a training tool and was not created to pinpoint any specific reason why there is an existing faulty movement pattern.


The seven movement patterns:

1. The Deep Squat – a Functional Movement screening that assesses bilateral, symmetrical and functional mobility of the hips, knees, and ankles.

2. The Hurdle Step – a Functional Movement screening that assesses bilateral, symmetrical and functional mobility of the hips, knees, and ankles.

3. The In Line Lunge – a Functional Movement screening that assesses torso, shoulder, hip and ankle mobility and stability, quadriceps flexibility and knee stability.

4. The Shoulder Mobility – a Fundamental Mobility screening that assesses bilateral shoulder range of motion, combining internal rotation with adduction and external rotation with abduction.

5. The Active Straight Leg Raise – a Fundamental Mobility screening that assesses active hamstring and gastroc-soleus flexibility while maintaining a stable pelvis and active extension of opposite leg.

6. The Trunk Stability Push Up – a Fundamental Core Strength screening that assesses the trunk stability in the sagittal plane while a symmetrical upper-extremity motion is performed.

7. The Rotary Stability – a Fundamental Core Stability screening that assesses multi plane trunk stability during a combined upper and lower extremity motion.


Beneficial advantages of undergoing a Functional Movement Screen

1. Preventing Injuries – As previously stated in this article, Functional Movement Screen can identify movement dysfunctions that can contribute to the occurrence of an injury. A report that analyzed 25 research studies about FMS, Dr. Butler of Duke University shared: “The Functional Movement Screen is a reliable tool that can be used to identify individuals who are more likely to become injured.”

2. Identifying Pain – As an individual undergoes the Functional Movement Screen and experiences pain while doing any of the seven movements, it means that the individual should be checked immediately by a medical professional to avoid worsening the injury.

3. It has an effective system – The design of the FMS makes it easier for the practitioner to perform the screen since they are itemized clearly and has a concise criteria that was already set by the founders.

4. It is repeatable – For athletes, progress is important especially when it comes to all the aspects of their physical health. FMS can be done on a monthly, quarterly or annually basis.

5. It corrects a dysfunctional pattern – A score of 1 on a movement pattern will be provided with other movements that can help correct that pattern. This is called the FMS Training Cycle.


Why choose a qualified physiotherapist?

In the health care industry, “screen” does not translate to diagnosis. A screen means detecting anyone who need diagnosis. But in sports and rehabilitation, it is somewhat different.

“…the validity of screens should be of the highest quality since you are “labeling” people and hence we should have very solid proof that people will be better off in the long run. When someone scores less than the cut off in the FMS, you tell them their chance of getting injured is extremely high. This is a great way to get someone to move less or have fear of movement or spend his or her time and money trying to fix it with their trainer.” -Anoop Balachandran, MSc Exercise Physiology, MSc Human Performance

FMS is widely promoted as an instrument in detecting problems and offers trainings to correct the problems. But as the FMS founder Lee Burton has stated:

“FMS is designed to identify movement pattern dysfunctions, thereby helping create the best possible intervention.”

So it means, it’s not just a simple screening but it is indeed a diagnosis. Therefore, a healthcare professional such as a physiotherapist is in a much better position to perform the FMS than any “FMS Certified” trainers or coaches. There is no other professional that is more competent to perform such diagnosis than a medically trained one such as a physiotherapist.

Here at Bounce Physiotherapy and Exercise Clinic, we have Physiotherapists that can help you with a dedicated Functional Movement Screen for runners. Click here to book a call with one of our team to find out how the screen can help you.


At Bounce Physiotherapy & Exercise Clinic we offer specific Functional Movement Screens for Runners.

Click the button below to discover how we can improve your performance and reduce injuries.