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Functional Movement Screen (FMS) in Carlsbad

The NAKOA Experience: FMS

Would we be allowed to jump in a car and drive along the freeway at 80 miles an hour without having obtained a driver’s license and/or understand the rules of the road?

How about deciding to just start your Ph.D. with no Masters or bachelor’s degree? Dream on…

So, how about loading a new client with a 200 lbs barbell compound exercise with no understanding of their current movement literacy?

This type of coaching is not only unrealistic, it is dangerous.

Insert -> NAKOA Experience <- here!

Our NAKOA Experience is an hour-long introductory session to learn about the clients:

  • Previous and current level of fitness
  • Short and long-term goals for the future
  • Current sleeping and eating patterns which have dramatic effect on fitness
  • Previous or current injuries which present compensations in the body

But the most interesting part of the Experience is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).

The FMS is a screening tool used to identify limitations or asymmetries. It measures seven fundamental movement patterns that are key to one’s movement quality with no current pain or any musculoskeletal injury.

The first three screens are general movement patterns for sports and daily activities:

Deep Squat – This pattern is an acceleration pattern, looking at person’s quality in jumping and landing needed for almost all sports. This screen identifies the person’s ability to squat using lower body mobility without stealing mobility from their upper body. The more we compensate with our upper body, the more we are at risk of injury.


Hurdle Step – Another acceleration pattern, but in locomotion, screening the person’s ability to stabilize on one leg (this is for anyone who runs from 100m to a marathon). Now that we are addressing each side of the body – left and right – we identify if there are any asymmetries in the individual. If so, then again the client is at risk of injury


Inline Lunge – This pattern is a deceleration pattern, looking at person’s ability to pump their brakes, or stop. Again, another unilateral or single leg screen presents the screener with a better understanding of how symmetrical the client\’s body is. If the client can be mobile and stabilize enough to stop on one side if their body, but cannot on the other, then the client will overcompensate on one side and be at risk of injury.


Dysfunction in anyone’s body first starts with mobility, then stability. So, it is no surprise the next two screens are mobility focused!

Shoulder Mobility – This screen identifies the rhythm of the scapular-thoracic region, T-Spine, and rib cage, while one arm adducts and internally rotates, while the other abducts and externally rotates. Limitations in mobility in this screen will result in rounded shoulders, poor posture and unnecessary strain on rotator muscles in the shoulder.


Active Straight Leg Raise – This screen is a lower-body mobility and stability screen. Limitations in hamstring and gastrocnemius mobility as well as stability in the client’s trunk when they separate their legs at the hips (one leg in flexion, the other in extension), will be easily identifiable. If there is dysfunction in this screen, will correlate to dysfunction in three previous movement screens


If a client’s mobility screens are exceptional then stability is the next port of call in screening movement competency or dysfunction.

Trunk Stability – This screen looks very similar to a push-up, however, this screen is a great identifier of how well our core can stabilize at the hips and shoulders and reduce movement in the spine. If you struggle to stabilize then clear dysfunction will be present during compound lifts.


Rotary Stability – The screen is a great identifier of approximal stability (our core) with distal mobility (our limbs moving away from our body). Think of a runner using their arms and legs. If the body struggles to stabilize while the arms and legs are used as propulsion mechanisms, then injury is right around the corner.


A lot to take in right?

Previously, the assumption to improve a squat is to load the client with weight and cue them, however from the screens above dysfunction can be present from various sources, so to improve performance and reduce injury reaffirming a client to continue the same dysfunctional movement pattern with weight is not the greatest idea.

So, as a coach this a great quantifiable tool to use to program safe exercises.

We can remove exercises that are going to challenge the client’s movement dysfunctions, improve key areas of dysfunctions, and program safe exercises to still kick the client\’s backside!!!

While the emphasis of screening is on new clients at NAKOA, I am super stoked to announce that during March, we as personal trainers will be opening up Functional Movement Screens to our existing client base to improve our client’s bodies and protect them from injury.


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