Stay Injury-Free and Improve Your Performance
Functional movement training is a process that involves evaluating how we move, finding any imbalances or limitations, and creating a plan to correct them (Clark, 2001). This type of training can help identify muscle imbalances or movement patterns that might lead to injuries, which is crucial for athletes as injuries can take a long time to recover from and hurt performance while leading to pain (McGill, 2006).
Functional movement training includes exercises that improve our body's movement patterns. Examples of functional movement exercises include squats, lunges, and single-leg deadlifts (Chek, 2004). Enhancing our fundamental movements can increase our strength, power, balance, and stability, which can help us perform better in your sport or daily activities (Cook, 2010).
“If you ain’t assessing, you’re guessing!”
Home Self Assessment
Here are a few simple self-assessments you can do at home to see how your functional movement measures up. Simply set your cell phone up to video yourself and compare to the video provided or send it in when you schedule an online consultation:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
Squat down as low as you can while keeping your heels on the ground and your back straight.
Score 0 If you can't squat low (below 90deg.), without leaning forward, your heels cannot stay down, you have poor posture, or you have pain/discomfort.
Score 1 If movement is full (past 90deg.), easy, pain-free with good form and good posture.
Step forward with one foot.
Lower your body until your back knee almost touches the ground.
Score 0 If you can't perform a full lunge (to 90deg.), without leaning forward, your front heel cannot stay down, you have poor posture, or you have pain/discomfort.
Score 1 If movement is full (past 90deg.), easy, and pain-free with good form and posture
Single Leg Balance:
Stand on one leg with the other leg at 90deg.
Maintain your balance for 30 seconds.
Score 0 if you do not hold balance for 30sec., touch your other foot to the ground, or can not hold good posture.
Score 1 If your stability and balance remain for 30sec, with good posture, without pain or distress.
Stand with your arms at your sides.
Raise arms out to the sides and overhead as far as you can.
Score 0 If you can't perform the movement with a full range of motion (above head), have poor posture, or have pain/discomfort.
Score 1 If movement is full (In line with the ear directly over the head), elbows straight, easy, with good posture, and pain-free.
Good functional movement = 4/4 points
Poor functional movement =3/4 or less, or if there is any pain
Seek consultation for 3/4 or pain during the functional movement assessment.
The Benefits of Functional Training
One of the most significant benefits of functional movement training is injury prevention. Many injuries occur due to muscle imbalances or incorrect movement patterns. Identifying these imbalances through a functional movement assessment and correcting them through training can reduce our risk of getting injured (McGill, 2006).
Functional movement training is a functional exercise involving full-body movements that mimic real-life activities. For example, a squat is a functional movement because we use it every day when we sit down and stand up. By training our bodies to perform these movements correctly, we can improve our ability to perform daily activities easily and efficiently (Clark, 2001).
Functional movement training can also be tailored to suit our specific needs and goals. For example, whether we want to improve our performance in a particular sport or feel better and move more efficiently, a qualified trainer can create a personalized program to help us achieve our goals (Chek, 2004).
In summary, functional movement training is valuable for anyone looking to improve their performance, prevent injuries, and feel better overall. Identifying muscle imbalances and correcting them through targeted exercises can strengthen our movement patterns, increase our strength and flexibility, and reduce our risk of injury. So, whether we are athletes or want to stay active and healthy, functional movement training is an essential part of our exercise routine.
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Clark, Michael. "Integrated Training for the New Millennium." National Academy of Sports Medicine, 2001.
Chek, Paul. "How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!" CHEK Institute, 2004.
Cook, Gray. "Movement." Human Kinetics, 2010.
McGill, Stuart. "Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance." Backfitpro Inc., 2006.