When I first became certified as a personal fitness trainer, I felt like I had a good training foundation, but still lacked a reasoned starting point. Each individual is unique and comes to training with different backgrounds, abilities, previous injuries, health issues and goals. Obviously, good communication is the starting point. But how do you safely and systematically identify movement imbalances and major limitations in functional movement patterns so you know where to begin. As a trainer, I felt a responsibility to find the answer.
My search led me to Gray Cook, a practicing physical therapist, orthopedic certified specialist, and founder of Functional Movement Systems. He lectures internationally on fitness, conditioning, injury prevention and rehabilitation. In the mid-nineties, he developed a screening tool – Functional Movement Screen – to identify asymmetries in seven fundamental movement patterns that are key to functional movement quality in individuals with no current pain complaint or known musculoskeletal injury. This was exactly what I was looking for.
I have become certified in the use of the Functional Movement Screen, and now use it with clients as an evaluation tool before beginning to train them. This allows me to customize training that focuses first on strengthening weaknesses, which will ultimately lead to improved overall movement patterns. The screen also serves as a benchmark to which we can compare later performance and assess improvement.
At Fit2Function, the screen is conducted at no charge as part of the initial consultation.