June 10, 2011

Functional training is one of the current buzzwords in fitness. Here at Core Fit ‘N Motion, our workouts fit into this category. But what does this mean? If you Google “Functional Training” you will find over 21.8 million hits. Wikipedia defines Functional Training as “a classification of exercise which involved training the body for the activities performed in daily life.” Daily activities have one thing in common: Movement.

If functional training really comes down to movement, how do we consistently measure movement and determine if we are making progress? The answer is: The Functional Movement Screen (FMS). The FMS was established in 1995 and is being used by fitness professionals, physical therapists and sports teams around the county. The FMS involves 7 movement screens with 3 clearing tests for pain. Based on the results of the screen, a specialized corrective strategy can be developed. The screen only takes 10 minutes to complete.

I (Alan) spent three days at the Levels I and II Functional Movement Screen seminar in April. I’ve since passed the certification test and have been using it in our gym. Today, I saw one of our members get into the deep squat unassisted due to progress made through corrective exercise strategies developed as a result of the screen. One of the attendees at the seminar is an athletic trainer for the St Louis Rams. He told me that every athlete at the NFL combine must take the FMS.

The key points presented at the seminar were:

  • Inefficient movements cause compensations, which moves a joint in an unnatural manner.
  • Compensatory movements lead to micro trauma.

I would add that micro trauma leads to injury.

Another key idea presented at the seminar was the Performance Pyramid. The Performance Pyramid is designed to give an understanding of human movement and movement patterns.

The idea here is that you should first have the ability to move through fundamental patterns. Once you can move freely, then you should work on power and strength through the movement pattern. The top pillar represents athletic skill development.

Many of today’s athletes and general population spend a majority of their time working on Functional Performance and Functional Skill without first having established the ability to move freely (Function Movement). We would consider this person to be over-powered; their ability to generate power exceeds their ability to move freely. This person would greatly benefit by improving functional movement patterns. I heard it described at the seminar that this type of person is like a race car driver with clown shoes. The person is operating a very fast car, but every time he presses down on the gas pedal, he also presses the brakes.  Learning how to depress the accelerator without also pressing on the brake will allow the car to operate faster and will reduce the chance of breakdown due to overheating brakes.

Call or stop by today to learn more about how we can help you better move.