Recent Resarch on the FMS


Many like Carl, Vern and myself have doubted the efficacy of the Functional Movement Screen from before it became common practice in the fitness / performance industry. While many people still use it today, there’s a growing body of research to support our initial impressions. Here are two studies that were posted on the Supertraining Mailing list that I thought would be good to add here. Note also the positive finding on squats. Post thoughts to the forum.

Relationship Between Functional Movement Screen and Athletic Performance

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
POST ACCEPTANCE, 29 September 2011
Parchmann, Christopher J; McBride, Jeffrey M
Published Ahead-of-Print

Tests such as the functional movement screen (FMS) and maximal strength (1RM) have been theorized to assist in predicting athletic performance capabilities. Some data exists concerning 1RM and athletic performance but very limited data exists concerning the potential ability of FMS to assess athletic performance. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if FMS scores or 1RM are related to athletic performance, specifically in Division I golfers in terms of sprint times, vertical jump height, agility T-test times and club head velocity. Twenty-five NCAA Division I golfers (15 men, age = 20.0+/-1.2 yrs, height = 176.8+/-5.6 cm, body mass = 76.5+/-13.4 kg, squat 1RM = 97.1+/-21.0 kg) (10 women, age = 20.5+/-0.8 yrs, height = 167.0+/-5.6 cm, body mass = 70.7+/-21.5 kg, squat 1RM = 50.3+/-16.6) performed a FMS, 1RM testing and field tests common in assessing athletic performance. Athletic performance tests included 10 m and 20 m sprint time, vertical jump height, agility T-test time, and club head velocity. Strength testing included a 1RM back squat. Data for 1RM testing was normalized to body mass for comparisons. Correlations were determined between FMS, 1RM’s and athletic performance tests using Pearson product correlation coefficients (p <= 0.05). No significant correlations existed between FMS and 10m sprint time (r = -0.136), 20m sprint time (r = -0.107), vertical jump height (r = 0.249), agility T-test time (r = -0.146) and club head velocity (r = -0.064). 1RM in the squat was significantly correlated to 10m sprint time (r = -0.812), 20m sprint time (r = -0.872), vertical jump height (r = 0.869), agility T-test time (r = -0.758) and club head velocity (r = 0.805). The lack of relationship suggests that FMS is not an adequate field test and does not relate to any aspect of athletic performance. Based on the data from this investigation 1RM squat strength appears to be a good indicator of athletic performance.

=============Using the Functional Movement Screen(TM) to evaluate the effectiveness of training
Frost, David M; Beach, Tyson AC; Callaghan, Jack P; McGill, Stuart M

The Functional Movement Screen(TM) (FMS) has demonstrated some efficacy in the prediction of injuries and is thus used by many practitioners to make recommendations for exercise. However, questions remain regarding its utility as a means to evaluate the effectiveness of training. Sixty firefighters volunteered to participate and their FMS scores were examined before and after 12 weeks of training. Each individual was graded on how they chose to perform rather than how they could perform. Participants were assigned to one of three groups: intervention 1, intervention 2, or control. The two intervention groups received three 1.5-hour training sessions each week and differed in the emphasis that was placed on movement quality. Sagittal and frontal plane video were used to grade the FMS with three methods: the standard 0-3 scale, a 100-point scale that weighted specific compensations (research standard), and a modified 100-point scale whereby grades were assigned based on the total number of compensations present. There were no significant differences in the total FMS scores for any group post training. However, the scores of 85% of the firefighters who did not receive training did change. The 100-point scale methods resulted in more FMS score changes post training, but the between-group interactions were identical to those found with the standard scoring method. The control group’s scores were not consistent pre and post training thus the influence of each intervention could not be evaluated. Currently, the FMS might provide a momentary impression of general movement quality, although further efforts would likely assist in the development of better ways to implement the test, interpret results and generate reliable scores.
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Mike Young

Mike Young

Founder of ELITETRACK at Athletic Lab
Mike has a BS in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University, an MSS in Coaching Science from Ohio University & a PhD in Biomechanics from LSU. Additionally, he has been recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Level 3 coach by USA Track & Field, a Level 2 coach by USA Weightlifting.
Mike Young
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Mike Young
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