Prior to starting a golf fitness program, it is important that you are screened not only by a healthcare professional but also by a golf fitness expert to not only make sure that you are healthy enough to participate but also to analyze your movement patterns and how they relate to golf. One of the main priorities of a golf workout routine is to promote injury prevention. Injuries do occur quite frequently in golf, and many of them can sideline your for extended periods of time. A good, comprehensive screen will assess your movement patterns, range of motion, balance, strength, and coordination and will identify specific areas that will need to be addressed.
One of the most highly regraded performance screens is the Functional Movement Screen, or the FMS. The FMS is being used worldwide as a tool to assess athletes of all sports, not just golf. This page will discuss the pros and cons of the FMS and how it relates to golf.
The FMS is a series of seven movements designed to assess general movement quality and asymmetry. It is scored by a trained professional and will provide you with a score based on your performance. Your score is an indication of your performance with each task with a higher score being the ultimate goal. Higher scores mean better quality of movement, including range of motion, muscle control, and balance. Lower scores, of course, indicate deficiencies in those areas and can be correlated with an increased risk of injury.
What the FMS is not intended for is diagnosing any sort of medical or orthopedic condition. That is to be reserved for your physician or other appropriate professional.
In addition to the specific movement patterns performed, the system can only be performed using the official Functional Movement Screen equipment which not only guides the person conducting the test but also can be configured in many different ways depending on the motion needed to be performed.
The specific movements included in the FMS are as follows:
Each of the movements have been carefully selected in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of dynamic performance.
Each individual test can be scored on a scale from 0 to 3. A score of 3 means that the participant was able to perform the selected movement without any sort of compensation according to the established technique guidelines. A score of 2 means that they were able to perform the motion, but had either poor mechanics or used a compensatory mechanism in order to complete the task. A score of 1 means that they are unable to complete the motion, even with compensations. Finally, a score of 0 indicates that the participant indicated pain during any part of the individual movement.
For the tests that require the motion to be performed by both sides, both the right and left side are scored separately with the lowest score being the one that is recorded. Also, some tests have a pass/fail component where a fail equals a score of 0.
Some aspects that I really like about using the Functional Movement Screen for golf include its portability, ease of use, repeatability, and reliability.
When fully assembled, the equipment does take up a decent amount of space, however, it assembles and disassembles very easily and can be transported from place to place if need be.
The scoring system is very straight forward as long as you have proper knowledge of the specific exercise techniques used during the test. While the movements may prove challenging for many participants, the directions are easy to follow and and nothing included in the test is truly impossible.
My final two advantages go hand in hand. While it is highly recommended that the FMS be performed prior to the beginning of a training program, since it is so easy to perform and relatively quick as well, it can be repeated numerous times on the same participant in order to monitor progress. Also, since the scoring system is straight forward, the reliability should be high, even between different testers.
When I discuss disadvantages, I truly mean in regards to golf specific testing. My main complaint is that it really isn't a golf specific test. Screening procedures used by the Titleist Performance Institute as well as the National Academy of Sports Medicine are significantly more specific to golf and include motions such as the pelvic tilt, shoulder rotation, trunk rotation, and variations of balancing on one leg to name a few. There are also muscle endurance tests which are missing from the FMS.
Another very important aspect of golf that I have mentioned numerous times throughout this website is posture. A comprehensive, head-to-toe, posture assessment should be mandatory, and should be performed in addition to any other functional screening.
While I do like the Functional Movement Screen as a general performance and injury screen for golf, I do think that additional assessments need to be made in order to check some of the other specific aspects of golf that may not be addressed with the FMS. I have created another page discussing those other aspects here.
The Functional Screen is growing in its popularity and use and while I am currently not FMS certified, it is something that I think highly of and is on my "to do" list for 2013.
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