Functional Movement Patterns: Assessments & Injury Prevention

Workplace injuries can have a big impact on businesses and the individual, whether it’s a reduction in productivity, increase in financial burden, reduction in individual and staff morale or even closure. There were 14,343 workplace injuries reported in Western Australia for 2017. By identifying individuals at risk for injury, businesses can implement injury prevention programmes to cut injury-related costs. Functional Movement Screens are short, one-on-one assessments conducted by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist that assess movement patterns to determine functional deficits and asymmetries related to motor control, mobility, and stability faults. This type of functional assessment can be used to highlight an individual’s potential risk of sustaining a musculoskeletal disorder and may be used to identify shortfalls that may be overlooked during the traditional rehabilitation process, medical, and performance evaluations.

Screening an individual’s fundamental movements prior to beginning a rehabilitative or strength and conditioning programme is important. This will allow the health professional to focus on the deficiencies and asymmetries causing poor movements. It’s these deficiencies that can cause a decrease in performance and an increase in injuries.

A Functional Movement Screen consists of seven standardised movements:

  1. Deep squat: poor performance can indicate any of ankle, hip or thoracic spine mobility or core stability.
  2. Hurdle step: this can provide insight into whether there are hip mobility or stability issues.
  3. In line lunge: poor performance can indicate calf, quad, hip or thoracic spine tightness, or glute weakness.
  4. Shoulder mobility: can indicate problems with mobility in the thoracic spine and scapular stability.
  5. Active straight leg raise: this can point out problems with hamstring flexibility or hip stability.
  6. Trunk stability push up: this test can identify issues with core stability and upper body strength.
  7. Rotary Stability: can tell us if there is a thoracic spine or hip mobility deficit, or a lack of stability in the rotary core muscles.

Once these deficiencies have been identified a programme of corrective exercise prescription is then developed with the goal of preventing musculoskeletal injuries. These may also be used at the end of the rehabilitation course to assist in determining a worker’s readiness and ability to return to work. For a Functional Movement Screen and/or rehabilitation programme, please contact the Exercise Physiologists at Absolute Balance today.

Victoria Bago (B.Sc-ExSportsSc, GraddipSc – ExRehab, GraddipEd-Sec)

Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)



Cook. G., Burton. L., Hoogenboom. B. (2014). Invited Clinical Commentary Functional Movement Screening: The Use of Fundamental Movements as an Assessment of Function Part 1. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 9(3).

Cook. G., Burton. L., Hoogenboom. B. (2014). Clinical Commentary Functional Movement Screening: The use of Fundamental Movements as an Assessment of Function Part 2. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 9(4).

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) -The benefits of the popular screening system for athletes might be over-sold by some professionals. Dec 6, 2017 Paul Ingraham, Canada.

Functional Movement Screen (FMS)- Original Editor – Adriana Mesa -Top Contributors – Naomi O’Reilly, Adriana Mesa, Evan Thomas, Tony Lowe and Scott Buxton. PHYSIOPEDIA.