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FMS Scores Change With Performers' Knowledge of the Grading Criteria—Are General Whole-Body Movement Screens Capturing “Dysfunction”?

Frost, David M.1; Beach, Tyson A.C.2; Callaghan, Jack P.1; McGill, Stuart M.1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2015 - Volume 29 - Issue 11 - p 3037–3044
doi: 10.1097/JSC.0000000000000211
Original Research

Abstract: Frost, DM, Beach, TAC, Callaghan, JP, and McGill, SM. FMS scores change with performers' knowledge of the grading criteria—Are general whole-body movement screens capturing “dysfunction”? J Strength Cond Res 29(11): 3037–3044, 2015—Deficits in joint mobility and stability could certainly impact individuals' Functional Movement Screen (FMS) scores; however, it is also plausible that the movement patterns observed are influenced by the performers' knowledge of the grading criteria. Twenty-one firefighters volunteered to participate, and their FMS scores were graded before and immediately after receiving knowledge of the movement patterns required to achieve a perfect score on the FMS. Standardized verbal instructions were used to administer both screens, and the participants were not provided with any coaching or feedback. Time-synchronized sagittal and frontal plane videos were used to grade the FMS. The firefighters significantly (p < 0.001) improved their FMS scores from 14.1 (1.8) to 16.7 (1.9) when provided with knowledge pertaining to the specific grading criteria. Significant improvements (p < 0.05) were also noted in the deep squat (1.4 [0.7]–2.0 [0.6]), hurdle step (2.1 [0.4]–2.4 [0.5]), in-line lunge (2.1 [0.4]–2.7 [0.5]), and shoulder mobility (1.8 [0.8]–2.4 [0.7]) tests. Because a knowledge of a task's grading criteria can alter a general whole-body movement screen score, FMS or otherwise, observed changes may not solely reflect “dysfunction.” The instant that individuals are provided with coaching and feedback regarding their performance on a particular task, the task may lose its utility to evaluate the transfer of training or predict musculoskeletal injury risk.

1Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; and

2Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Address correspondence to Dr. Stuart McGill,

Copyright © 2015 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.