What is movement?

Hey, !  Quick question for you…


What is movement?


This is not a hypothetical question. Stop right here and think about it….



There’s a lot of answers that could apply, right?


Personally, we like the Dan John approach of squat, hinge, push, pull, carry, and everything else (crawl, jump, throw, climb, etc…).


Today we are going to explain how we approach basic human movement from a basic assessment and programming standpoint.


Our goal is to have you walk away with a basic framework of how you can apply these principles to audit your clients’ current and future programs.


Over the next few months we are going to dive deeper and deeper into the nuts and bolts of program design.





Remember, we are only talking about assessing movement here- NOT performance.


Okay, now that that’s out of the way…  Let’s go in.


We use the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), but this is not a sales pitch…


Or is it?


The FMS is comprised of 7 different movement screens: The Deep Squat, Hurdle Step, In Line Lunge, Shoulder Mobility, Active Straight Leg Raise, Trunk Stability Push-up, and Rotary Stability.


Here’s some pictures to give you a little visual, and yet none of the “story.”




Each of the screens tell us some basic information that will help us to understand if we need to add, remove, or modify anything in our programs.

  • Deep Squat = Squat
  • Hurdle Step = Single Leg Stance (unsupported)
  • In-Line Lunge = Split Stance/Single Leg Balance (supported)
  • Shoulder Mobility = Pushing; Sometimes Pulling
  • Active Straight Leg Raise = Hinge, Core
  • Trunk Stability Push-up = Core, Horizontal Pushish
  • Rotary Stability = Crawling, Locomotion; Rotation


Let’s further simplify.

  • Squat = Deep Squat
  • Hinge = Active Straight Leg Raise
  • Push = Shoulder Mobility and Trunk Stability Push-up
  • Pull = Shoulder Mobility
  • Carry = Rotary Stability
  • Everything else
    • Crawl = Rotary Stability
    • Single Leg Work = Hurdle Step and In-Line Lunge
    • Throw = depends on type, but would more than likely be combos of Rotary Stability, and Shoulder Mobility
    • Climb = ummmmm, what doesn’t this involve?



How WE Use the FMS…




So what does this do to our programming?


We’re going to get real in-depth with our program design process in the next two months, but I think a little context will help today…


Hopefully you’re not collecting data to collect data. Your assessment(s) should drive some of your decision making.


We put our movements on a stick figure. It looks like this:


Stick Movements


We typically program in opposite pairings (i.e. squat and pull, hinge and push). This allows us to cover full body sessions with non-competing demands in less total training time.


We already laid out above how the FMS relates to those movements. So, we could take a simple template like:


  • A1. Goblet Squat
  • A2. Inverted Row


  • B1. Deadlift
  • B2. Overhead Press


Then we could FMS the individual and learn that they’re not up to snuff on shoulder mobility.


Looking at the exercises, what might we need to add/remove/modify?


Right off the bat, inverted row and overhead press should be examined more. But we need some additional info.


We check their other screens and see that Trunk Stability Push-up is good. Okay, I’m probably cool with horizontal pressing, and for that reason, probably horizontal rowing as well. But in exploring their overhead position, I’m not cool with what I see… Now we’re on to something.


Let’s modify the overhead press to a horizontal push. We’ll go with push-up.


Let’s also add some type of overhead mobility work in A3. Maybe we go with Bench T-Spine Extension.


Then we’ll add some type of motor control in B3. Lot of things could work here, but maybe we deem Standing Shoulder CARs appropriate.


  • A1.Goblet Squat
  • A2. Inverted Row
  • A3.Bench T-Spine Extension


  • B1. Deadlift
  • B2. Push-Up
  • B3. Standing Shoulder CARs


Our assessment drove our decisions with regards to adding, removing, and modifying.


The FMS does not tell you that can’t do something- it simply helps you to understand more about the cost of doing business…  It gives us a good idea of

“whether or not our people can get into the right positions, both mechanically and neurologically, to absorb and adapt to stress.” – Charlie Weingroff


If they can’t, we’ve got options, and we’ll get more into those real soon!


Plus, in our system, we’ll actually test out these movements at their Personal Orientation… more to come on that!



What’s driving your decisions with regards to movement?


Again, you can use whatever system makes sense for you. We are not here to sell you the FMS (too hard).  But we have not personally found a better system.


The FMS allows us to speak with medical professionals (that use the components of Functional Movement Systems) because it’s a standardized screen.  We can all speak the same language.


This allows us to be a better team of professionals all working towards the same goal with our clients/patients.  Win/Win!


Further, we can work on the findings of the FMS with any approach in our toolbox (FMS “correctives,” PRI, DNS, OS, etc.).


Using something different to collect this type of information on intake?  We’d love to hear about it.  Let’s get a discussion going on the Facebook group.



Wait, wait, wait…


By now I’m sure you’re thinking, “… this isn’t what we use IN Strength Faction!,” and you’re right.  We can’t put you through a full FMS through an online program like Strength Faction.  There’s a self-FMS, introduced in “Athletic Body in Balance,” but we even felt that would be too much for our needs.


The reality is, when it comes to the FMS, we start with mobility first (shoulder mobility and active straight leg raise), followed by stability (trunk stability push-up rotary stability), and then the gross movements (inline lunge, hurdle step, and deep squat).  Because we start with mobility first, it made sense for us to use an even more BASIC mobility assessment for the Faction (that’s you!).


Apley Scratch Test
Apley Scratch Test


Active Straight Leg Raise
Active Straight Leg Raise


These two movements have allowed us to begin to answer the question:

“Can you get into the right positions, both mechanically and neurologically, to absorb and adapt to stress?”


With the answers to those questions, along with information received from your intake form, we can put you into a training group that will address your “biggest rocks.”


Now what?


Obviously this was a rough overview, and in no way shape or form did we, nor could we this succinctly, teach you to use the FMS.


If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to head over to https://www.functionalmovement.com/events/map and get into a seminar.  We HIGHLY recommend the Level I online + Level II weekend.


Don’t worry, you DON’T have to use the FMS.  We just want to make sure you are thinking about qualifying appropriate movements for your clients.

In 2010, two dudes Chris and Todd, started the business that would eventually become Strength Faction.

You know how they say the rest is history? Well, it’s not.

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