top of page

Ask Dave: What Do You Think About Movement Screening

Every now and again I asked my opinion on Movement Screening.

More often than not the asker has been reading about the FMS or “Functional Movement Screen” created by Grey Cook.

The FMS thought process, according to their website, has been around since 1995, their book Movement was published in 2010.

I’ve been a fan of Grey Cook’s work since about 2010 or so. I thing thats when I got his other book Athletic Body in Balance (published in 2003 and featuring a version of the FMS). In fact I could listen to Grey’s podcasts all day long. He’s a fantastic speaker with such a relaxed style in that cowboy drawl he has…

But enough fanboy speak….

Do I use the FMS?


Would I?

I don’t see why I should.

Should you?

Why not?

So lets leave Grey and his sytem alone for a minute and explore what a screen is and why it is useful to a coach.

There are two types of testing that you can put a person through prior to training them.

These are:

1) A Screen 2) An Assessment

So whats the difference?

A screen is just that. Like a filter if you prefer, like a screen door, or checking the number when your phone rings to see if you’ll answer or not.

It is a general look around a body.

You look at the body performing certain movements and then decide based on how well they perform how their training will go or if there’s pain present, to send them to a physio.

A screen door. For screening out flies and shit

A screen door. For screening out flies and shit

An assessment is more detailed.  (Grey Cook also teaches this, he calls it the SFMA and is for physios, where the FMS is for coaches.) An assessment is usually more in depth, potentially more invasive. Is there a need for a coach to do a detailed assessment?

Maybe. If he’s qualified. And if the person in front of him either needs it or has requested it.

I assess people using the Anatomy in Motion protocols.

I also screen people.

As I screen someone it may lead to me requesting they book in an assessment.

So how do I screen?

That’s simple.

A screen is a simple look at a body in motion. So with that in mind, every movement can be used as a screen.

As a martial artist and security professional, I’ve studied peoples body language my whole life and learned to pay attention to how people move. Taking this experience into the gym environment means I can quickly get a very good idea about where someone is at simply by watching how they move and carry themselves.

Next are the warm up procedures we employ.

I use a pretty standard format across the board with new clients. In fact many clients never move away from this initial warm up method.

This standardised set of movements is my screen.

And just as when I was teaching Karate classes (and in fact the very reason Karate classes are set up as they are, with people in rows moving in a synchronised fashion) any aberrant movement anywhere in the group of people sticks out like a sore thumb.

So my screen is in 3 parts. First as the people walk in and move around in general. Second as they warm up. Third is every single movement they make, every exercise they perform, every rep they do.

Everything can be used as a screen.

Anything that flags up as not normal will elicit an inquiry from me, and maybe further investigation via assessment.

So in my opinion, do you need to do the FMS?

No. Not necessarily.

Anyone with a good understanding of human movement, how joints articulate and an eye for detail should be able to screen.

If you don’t have that, you need to get it.

And for that, Grey and his staff are well up there. As is Gary Ward and his Anatomy in Motion method, although this goes into assessments aswell. And there are several others out there, just ask more experienced coaches how they look at clients.

But at the end of the day, nothing beats developing your observational skills and paying close attention to movement

And the best teacher for that?


Regards Dave Hedges

Wild Geese Fitness Training is by HYLETE and endorse HYLETE apparel. As a benefit, all of our members are invited to sign up for a powered by HYLETE Athlete account.

1) Visit to create your account

2) Select Wild Geese Fitness Training as your referred by 3) Log into to receive your exclusive pricing

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page