No Cook Book- Functional Movement Systems


Most think that I would not watch 4 hours of FMS video,never mind twice, but I did. Keeping an open mind is why I never become biased for any one system only approach. Down the road Brett Jones is going to do some informal podcast discussion and I am excited to hear good questions instead of the soft comfortable promotion-like stuff I have read in the past. Is the video worth getting? I think so because it addressed the more necessary talking points rarely discussed by the proponents of the FMS system. I like Gray Cook, I just find many followers not to be independent thinkers and very driven in climbing the ladder for networking purposes. What was included was 4 DVDs with both audio and video of the workshop he did professionally arranged with pdfs and speaker notes. The price is fair since attending would be far more expensive and the information is very good and worth listening to.

Gray Cook is very easy to listen to. He doesn’t try to make things impressive or overly complicated. The anatomy and physiology is important, but he is confident in his principals not to try to pretend he is an anatomist with a laser pointer. He is very polished and has some down to earth points. I do think getting a 21 is a great start since increasing mobility is a great way to reduce injuries and I am a believer in asymmetry. Nobody needs to be perfect, but being asymmetrical is researched to be a risk factor. Overall getting clean movement and having some wisdom is what I got from the lectures.

On the other hand I am not trying to speak with Gray Cook on how the FMS helps hurdlers so I can get the thumbs up or like on a Facebook status. So I will share my candid disagreements and questions based what nobody wants to talk about.

Question Series 1– What is Gray Cook’s FMS score? Does he max it out? Does he do it weekly, monthly, or just once a year. Random question I know but it would be kind of neat for him to share this with other people. I would be interested to see if he could snatch his bodyweight and what his upper back would look like. Mobility without force production/reduction is like Reeses Cup with not peanut butter inside. Mobility is the oil to the engine. The composition of mobility and movement with speed and power is what people are looking for.

Question Series 2- Gray is not a fan of real statistical analysis based on his scoring methodology and aversion to technology. With Coach Torine’s theme being What Gets Measured, Gets Managed” at the NSCA conference I am not seeing a healthy dose of data recording, validation of analysis, and real statistical approaches with the FMS. I am still shocked that the Colts Organization is dependent on a system that summarizes a screening of the professional sport of football into 7 tests of 0-3. It simply isn’t good science or very enlightening. I simply refuse to be a person that says out loud 2 and 3 are not the same, so he is not symmetrical.. Cavemen can count marks on a bone, we need to embrace the criteria of the tests (the strongest part of the system and is very elegant) and put them in to real scoring units of degrees, time, and position. You don’t need to sell a house three times to get 90% of the data the squat animation shared, you can get it for the cost of an iPod touch and about 100 dollars of apps and home depot cost. If one really thinks you manage what you measure, start measuring precisely and use appropriate units of measurement. Goniometers are not for geeks, but for dedicated people who want clear truth of what is going on.

Question Series 3- Much of the demonstrations were in situations of one on one. Movement is very teaching based and I don’t see many group examples of getting people to do things in groups. Mike Boyle is often criticized that he has cookie cutter programs with is facility, but remember getting people to get an A on a B program is better than getting a D on a A program on paper. When the group gets beyond 4:1 you are needing to go into a prevent defense and have people do similar activities. Down the road more individualism is needed but crowd control is a very hard part of coaching. I think the corrective approach needs to see approaches that are decision based vs cueing the brains out of the athlete. Gray makes a good point about selecting the right option vs teaching the wrong option perfectly. His natural hierarchy of priorities is what people need to pick up, not his exercise selection necessarily.

Question Series 4- Cook talked about an NBA player who he addressed restrictions with range of motion work via therapy and not movement, yet confirmed his beliefs with a gait lab. Craig talked about the foundation of what we are doing is locomotion, and how gait is the cornerstone in his blog. This is the future. Seeing if the therapy sticks or makes a transfer with objective science, not confirmation bias with our eyes. We all want to believe we are raising the dead and doing magic. I hope Cook talks about mobility and therapy more, as some athletes will never get mobile with indian clubs and activation. With sports having a time crunch he needs to invest into sharing interventions that turn a NBA player from a 13 to 21 while gaining mass, strength, and conditioning.

Question Series 5- More comment than question. I think demonstrations are important but use video more so we can get a holistic view. Too much magic show work of attendees coming up on stage and getting cured instantly. While this is great for sharing and educating, it creates a false assumption that people are rehabbed this quickly and easily. Where is the abracadabra with Peyton Manning? We have a responsibility to be honest here, and this is why power bracelets are replacing power breakfasts with kids. I would love a overhead squat with 60 kilos to be done with 6-6 to 7 foot athletes and show the manual therapy done with a timeline so we all can see how difficult and time committed this stuff is. No more street magic as you don’t see this with surgery conferences or business expos. Nobody comes up stage at a Cloud Computing conference and fixes one’s business in a few minutes. Let’s be real here. Everyone wants quick fixes and this feeds the audience false hope.

Overall the videos were worth watching twice as I was able to learn about the process more than the tests. I use two of the tests and work with great PTs and we need to start focusing on 90% of performance coaching of getting people fit. Foam rolling doesn’t replace massage. Wall drivers are not skilled manual therapy. Corrective exercise is not rehab. I believe we need an overlap in approach but our time and roles need to be segregated a bit to get the job done. Being out of shape is dysfunctional. Weak is risky. Unskilled is dangerous. On the other hand living in isolation and saying that things will get better by just doing the basics is not always the case. Having a holistic approach to improvement of movement is what I like about Gray Cook. Let’s see how well we are moving objectively, and how that transfers to the sporting arena in the future with good sport science. You can get the DVD here and is a great value.

Note: When I do reviews I don’t have affiliate codes. I am not against affiliate codes as they are great ways to be commissioned on one’s reading but a major conflict of interest lies in getting money for the product endorsement.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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