Defending the Functional Movement Screen


One thing that is always in fashion is bashing something that you didn’t invent. I think Velcro is stupid. Not really but, I just wanted to show how silly it is to bash a great idea. Velcro is a great idea. Great for shoes for kids and old people and lots of other stuff. Not so great for adult shoes? But does that make Velcro a bad idea?

The Functional Movement Screen is a great idea. It’s such a great idea that most ( not all) smart people I know have embraced it to some degree. A few people have taken to the internet to criticize it. The thing I like most is that the people who criticize it don’t use it. If you don’t use something how can you be so sure it has little value. Recently Vern Gambetta again took the time to criticize the FMS.

Gambetta states “It is a borderline waste of time that generates random numbers without transfer to real life situations.”

I have trouble seeing how the numbers 0-3 can be considered random? In reality, the numbers have a very simple and easy to follow system behind them. 3 is great, 2 is good ( but not great), 1 is a big problem and 0 is “we need help”. Not too random.

Vern goes on to say “If you force the body to conform to unusual, strange, often uncomfortable positions – Is that a valid assessment?”

Ok, if that was the case I might agree. However I’m just not sure if stepping, squatting, kneeling, being on your back or on all fours constitutes a series of uncomfortable positions?

This last one is a tough one?

“I want to see how the athlete can make connections and transitions not get in positions that are mentally convenient and easy to measure.”

A bit contradictory? Are the positions unusual, strange and uncomfortable or, mentally convenient and easy to measure? Two widely divergent criticisms of the same system.

Bottom line, I don’t think Vern has never taken the time to really study or understand the FMS. In some ways I get it. I wrote an article for my StrengthCoach.com site called Will the FMS Cure Most Communicable Diseases that made the point that the FMS is a screen. That’s all it is. A simple starting point to look at movement and injury potential. The FMS is, for better or worse, the best tool we have now. It has conncected the weight room and the training room and given a young personal trainer a place to begin to understand movement from. Gray and Lee have never presented it to be more than that but, others have. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I use this picture to explain the FMS.

Screen It’s a screen for separating rocks from dirt. The dirt falls through, the rocks get stuck. That’s the FMS. The rocks are 1’s and 0’s. Everything else falls through. Tough to criticize?

One Response to “Defending the Functional Movement Screen”

  1. Spot on. Found myself attempting to explain the same points in response to Vern Gambetta’s rant. Thanks Coach!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: