What is Functional Movement Assessment?

Full length of silhouette healthy woman jogging on beach

Functional Movement Assessment: Essential to Performance and Injury Prevention

Movement patterns can have a major impact on our bodies. Genetically, the human body was designed to jump, run, swim, throw, and perform at a high level. However, we have found that through the demands and of everyday life, stressors occur that produce a negative impact on our body’s mechanics. As a result of these stressors, pain, imbalances, asymmetries, and decreased function occur.

Current research suggests there may be a method for monitoring and documenting movement patterns in order to correlate these findings directly to overall physical function. In fact, multiple studies have correlated performance on the functional movement assessment with measures of core stability and performance.

Movement assessments are also a valuable tool for identifying individuals who are more likely to become injured. From high school sports to professional leagues, movement assessments are becoming integrated into pre-season sports physicals to identify athletes with pain or movement limitations before advanced performance training begins.

One of the major concepts behind the assessment is keeping the data objective and reproducible. Standardization of this test allows doctors and coaches to create a functional baseline number that can be monitored for change.

A functional movement assessment is scored on a scale from 0 to 21. Knowing your score is important, but more importantly, being aware of the dysfunctional patterns occurring in your own body is absolutely essential to preventing injuries during athletic conditioning.

If you do not know your functional score and would like to learn more about the function of your body, give us a call or contact another healthcare practitioner who cares for a person’s functional health.

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Dr. Andrew Oteo DC
Health Fitness Revolution Magazine is proud to have Dr. Andrew Oteo DC as a contributing writer. Dr. Oteo is Board Certified in Chiropractic and Physiotherapy, and highly trained in multiple health and rehabilitation disciplines. He is currently a practicing doctor in Highland Village, TX at ProForm Clinics (www.proformclinics.com). As well, he is actively involved with conducting advanced health education programs for individuals, teams, organizations, and media platforms. Dr. Oteo’s mission is to help others optimize their body’s natural health potential. His passion for healing and teaching stems from an early personal experience in the realm of a sports injury. An avid athlete, he was struck with a shoulder and knee injuries that did not respond to traditional care. His journey into alternative medical research led him to the understanding that the body and mind must be treated in a holistic way, and that treatment and prevention can be done without dependence on drug related therapy. He is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and methods to enrich lives and serve the community. Andrew A. Oteo, DC 214-563-1414 droteo@proformclinics.com


  1. If this is based on the functional movement screening (FMS), then it does have flaws – namely that it is a very subjective measure, and the inter tester reliability is not brilliant. The other thing I would like to say is that we are not designed to cycle – this is something that has evolved due to the invention of cycles – we are created to utilise primal movement patterns of : push, pull, bend, twist, squat, lunge and gait in its various forms.

  2. Hi Paul! Thank you for the feedback, I knew this would inevitably come up with the discussion. Yes, I was referencing Gray Cook’s work with FMS in this article, specifically the 21 point grading scale of the functional movement screening. I absolutely agree that inter examiner reliability is a factor [as it is with any testing method that is open to human error]. However, as the training of the examiner increases, the score differential decreases and therefore inter examiner reliability becomes more reliable . Here are the referenced research articles: (Minick et al., 2010; Frohm et al., 2011; Onate et al., 2012; Teyhen et al., 2012; Gribble et al., in press; Smith et al., in press). There is also a 100 point FMS screening test used in research settings to improve precision of the screen, but I do not personally use this method of measurement. Excellent point about the movement patterns involved with cycling and I would have to agree with you based on how I made that statement. We are genetically designed to perform at a high level [broad idea statement]. We were not ‘genetically designed’ to cycle, but out bodies are designed for adaptation to imposed demand. We use the laws of physics to size and tailor the bicycle to biomechanical specifications in order to assist in the efficiency of this adapted pattern of mobility. Of all of the movements listed above in my statement, cycling may even produce the lowest amount of impact on the body. You are absolutely correct in the statement that cycling is NOT a primal movement pattern….. but to someone who lives, breaths, and dreams about cycling or mountain biking, it might as well be! Lol. Thank you Paul

  3. How does one find someone who can do this assessment? I just turned 60 and try to stay active, but I still tend to pull something or tear something every couple of years! I would sure like to know what I can do to strengthen the parts that need it and avoid injuries! I live in San Antonio.

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