January 17, 2012

Why We Use FMS

By Leo Shveyd, Advanced Wellness in San Francisco, CA

My wife Robbi and I own and operate Advanced Wellness, a fitness and wellness center in the heart of San Francisco, California. I was initially drawn to the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) in 2009 after Mel Young, a trusted San Francisco physical therapist showed me the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) book he received during his certification. I was so impressed by the material, its breadth, logic and how it was organized that I decided to research FMS. Ultimately, I became FMS certified. Two months after becoming level I certified, I completed the FMS level II.

Since becoming FMS I & II certified, there is not one client I haven’t screened. Whether an athlete, a soccer-mom, an executive or a youngster, the FMS is my starting point. By screening clients in the seven fundamental movements designed to identify an individual’s asymmetries and/or gross mobility/stability restrictions, I am able to quickly determine an effective training path. This determination allows me to maximize the training benefits by employing the appropriate movements, in a reasoned sequence, at the appropriate levels, while minimizing risk through the elimination of movements that may be harmful to the client. Here are some of the other benefits derived from using FMS:

  1. Simple: The FMS is simple for the beginning trainer because you do not need to know every detail of anatomy (though helpful) to have a tremendous impact on your clients. You merely have to understand movement and whether it meets an adequate standard as a prerequisite to more advanced movements. While simple, the FMS has no limitation for the advanced practitioner, allowing you to implement the system as you advance.
  2. Efficient: The FMS is efficient—it takes only ten minutes to screen a client (once you get comfortable). Being able to choose the right correction and execute it immediately, allows further efficiency. Instead of trying to do everything, you do only what is needed, thus saving time.
  3. Adaptable: The FMS is adaptable and allows you to use any correction that makes your client “better”. This allows you to begin implementing the FMS philosophies as soon as you learn to screen.
  4. Educational: The FMS is educational—as it teaches you what to look for and opens your mind to the “best” (most impactful, requiring the least amount of time) correction available. Once I understood this search, my level of knowledge grew and it made me a better trainer.
  5. Applicable: The FMS is applicable to a variety of movement related fields (personal training, physical therapy, pilates, chiropractic, body work, etc.). At Advanced Wellness, we not only have FMS certified trainers but Kevin Burns, our soft-tissue specialist, is certified as well. When Kevin and I share clients, the communication regarding a client’s limitation is simple and fast because we speak the same language (i.e. ASLR left 2/right 1; create the mobility in the right and I will burn it in with stability work).
  6. Business: Because the FMS greatly benefits the client, it naturally helps you grow your business. Once potential clients realize you can identify their limitations, the natural next step is “hey, I can help you correct that dysfunction”. In short, the FMS promotes your services through a natural progression in an appropriate manner. Furthermore, referring my clients to Kevin for bodywork and vice-versa has helped both of our businesses.
  7. Risk Reduction: The FMS reduces the risk of injury—while it is difficult to quantify injury prevention, research indicates a stability and/or mobility asymmetry of greater than 10-15% increases the individual’s risk of injury by 2.5–3 times. Since the FMS highlights an individual’s fundamental asymmetries and/or gross mobility/stability restrictions, balancing the asymmetries and eliminating the restrictions will substantially decrease the risk of future injury. The tricky part of using the FMS is that many of the benefits are unseen (i.e., the injuries that never happen). Clients understand pain, which I find to be a terrific motivator. However, they do not understand the prevention of pain and injuries, which happens to be a societal problem (ever heard of “an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure”?). As professionals, we must understand the science and rationale for using the FMS; and why the benefits far outweigh the time investment. The research strongly supports the FMS’s ability to prevent injuries.
  8. Effective: Because of the foregoing, the FMS is effective in helping practitioners become better at their craft and in growing their business while helping their clients attain a higher level of health, function, and fitness.

Thank you to the FMS team, and especially Brett Jones who comprehensively teaches those of us how to implement this tool.

For more information about Leo Shveyd and Advanced Wellness, please visit http://advancedwellness.com/team/.

The video below is of one of my favorite progressions because it can be used to address toe-touch, active straight leg raise (ASLR), as well as assist with rolling pattern dysfunctions.