Pre-Season Training: Are you Prepared?

It is hard to believe we are already heading towards March. With the winter sports season rapidly approaching, what are you doing to prepare yourself for the forthcoming season?

The biggest concern to every athlete  is injury, yet it is prevalent across all sports. In fact, according to ACC injury rates are increasing year by year!

ACC STATISTICS

  • 471,980 claims where related to sports and recreation injuries in 2014/2015
  • Claims in the Waikato increased by approximately 1000 more than in 2013/2014
  • Injuries to the knees where most common followed by ankles, shoulders (including clavicle and blade), and lower back.

Injury is often a result of deviations in movement. These deviations can be detected through a variety of different methods, the simplest and most cost effective being a movement screen. There is numerous movement screens the are easily assessable, we have found the most effective to be Grey Cook’s Functional Movement Screening (FMS). The FMS can help identify compensatory movement patterns that are indicative of increased risk of injury.

THE OVERHEAD SQUAT TESTIMG_0255 (2)

One of the seven tests within the FMS, the Overhead Squat, as it is a useful functional screening tool that can highlight motor – control problems and mobility restrictions. Research on the FMS is beginning to show that an individual who scores poorly on the Overhead Squat test has an increased risk of injury. This position combines a deep squat with an overhead press and identifies bilateral symmetrical mobility of the hips, knees and ankles as well as the shoulders. Mobility of the thoracic spine is also highlighted within the test.

How to Test: 

You will need a PVC pipe or a dowel to administer the test as well as a 2 x 6 piece of timber. The test is as follows:

  • Stand tall with your toes pointing forwards and feet shoulder – width apart.
  • Place the dowel on top of your head so your elbows and shoulders are at 90 degrees angle.
  • Press the dowel directly overhead.
  • While maintaining an upright torso, descend down into a squat as deeply as you can comfortably go and hold for a count of one.

Try this test with a partner and have them film you from the front and side. This will help you in analysing the movement.

Common Implications & Deviations:

  • If the foot collapses and your heels rise in the assessment, ankle mobility restriction will be present. This could be in the joint itself or tightness in the tissues of the lower extremities like the gastrocnemius, soleus and the anterior tibialis.
  • If the knees should deviate either in internal or external rotation then we can assume this to be a symptom of both hip mobility and hip instability. This could indicate weak/inhibited gluteus medius/maximus, and a tight adductor complex.
  • If the lower back were to hyperextend or excessively arch in the test, we can identify a lumbar stability issue in being a weak inner and outer core. This could further suggest to us the individual may have a tight iliopsoas or other flexors of the hip. Other possible explanations in the deviation would be poor thoracic spine mobility, which indicates tight latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major and minor.

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FREE Functional Movement Screen

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Functional Movement Screen (FMS): The Importance of Screening Movement

What is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS)?
The Functional Movement Screen is a product of an exercise philosophy known as the Functional Movement Systems. This system is based on sound science, years of innovation, and current research. In its simplest form, the FMS is a ranking and grading assessment system without judgment, which readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries that may hinder functional training and physical conditioning. Furthermore, it can help identify compensatory movement patterns that are indicative of increased risk of injury.
The FMS generates the Functional Movement Screen Score, which is then used to target problems and track progress. The scoring system is directly linked to a database of corrective exercises most beneficial to the individual to help restore mechanically sound movement patterns. It is a logical path to exercise choices and program design, which is communicable between the client, exercise professional and physician. The FMS looks objectively at quality of movement, and it is extremely reliable and reproducible.

The Test and Scoring Heirarchy

The FMS test itself is a seven movement screen accompanied by three clearing tests that requires a balance of mobility and stability. These are the: Deep Squat Movement Pattern; Hurdle Step Movement Pattern; Inline Lunge Movement Pattern; Shoulder Mobility Movement Pattern; Active Straight – Leg Raise Movement Pattern; Trunk Stability Push – Up Movement Pattern; Rotary Stability Movement Pattern. These movement patterns provide observable performance of basic loco motor, manipulative and stabilising movements by placing the individual in positions where weaknesses, imbalances, asymmetries and limitations become noticeable when appropriate mobility and motor control is not used.

There are three basic outcomes here, which are:
1. You will have an acceptable screen by which it is safe to proceed with full activities.
2. You may have a screen that is unacceptable, but you simply may require a corrective exercise strategy before advancing exercise and performance goals.
3. You may exhibit pain with movement, either in the screen or in one of the clearing tests, which will require referral to an appropriate health care provider.
This is quantified in a scoring system of 3 – 2 – 1 – 0, as mentioned earlier in the article. As outlined above in the three basic outcomes, a score of three would indicate an acceptable screen with an unquestioned ability to perform a functional movement pattern. A score of two would display a degree of compensation noted when performing a movement pattern. A score of one would indicate an inability to perform or complete a functional movement pattern. A score of zero would identify pain associated with movement pattern.
The FMS is designed for all healthy, active and inactive people, and it is used for those who do not present with pain or injury.

My experience with the FMS
My initial experience with the FMS fall back a little over two years ago upon stumbling across a list of recommended books from a website called the Personal Training Development Centre. One of these books was Athletic Body in Balance, and kudos is given to it’s author Gray Cook, a Physical Therapist from the United States for the development of the FMS. Athletic Body in Balance serves as an initial blue print of the FMS. I found this book to be a highly valuable resource in how I would assess and program individuals, as it reinforced the idea of eliminating dysfunctional movement, preventing risk of injury, and adding volume and intensity to a symmetrical, functioning body. The system proposed in the book gave me a better tool to assess, and after numerous practices I sought to become registered.
This was fulfilled in late July of this year in the Level One Functional Movement Screen Course in Auckland. It was the first time this course had been brought to New Zealand. This eight hour workshop was administered by some of the best leading figures in the system, including Greg Dea who has an impressive resume’. The workshop was small, which enhanced the quality of learning, and being highly practical, gave me the necessary training in order to administer the screen.
As a Certified Functional Movement Screen Practitioner, I can administer the screen and program you to avoid the risk of injury, create more symmetry in your body, and help you work towards your health and performance goals.

 

For further reading:
Cook, G. 2003. Athletic Body in Balance. United States of America: Human Kinetics.
Cook, G., Burton, L., Kiesel, K., Rose, G., Bryant, M. F. 2010. Movement. CA, United States of America: On Target Publications.
Iardella, S. Exposing the Importance of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Retrieved from www.breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/exposing-the-importance-of-the functional-movement-screen-fms.
What is the FMS? Retrieved from www.functionlmovement.com/fms.