We are big believers in the benefits the Functional Movement Screen (“FMS”) provides clients. The importance of the assessment is especially heightened for high school athletes that are subjected to physical and emotional loads far greater than they experienced playing in youth leagues.
High school practices are often longer, more frequent, and may include a strength-training component. Physical constraints that stayed beneath the surface to the untrained eye while playing youth league sports may quickly manifest at the high school level as pain, injury, and an inability to perform at the higher level of competition.
The FMS is a simple but powerful, time-tested means of revealing the presence of physical constraints like weakness, asymmetry, instability, and immobility. Without an assessment like this, athletes are unaware of the potential cycle of pain, loss of performance, and frustration that awaits them.
Let’s take a look at why this is important for one of the components of high school athlete’s life that is near and dear to us at DSP, strength training.
High School Strength Training
Despite good information in the world about how to provide appropriate and effective strength training for high school athletes, the typical “plan” for high school athletes implemented by high school coaches falls very short.
First, the approach is typically one-size-fits-all. By definition, the exercises will not reflect the individual constraints of the athlete’s body. Coaches do this because one-size-fits-all is easier for them to implement.
Secondly, the high school strength-training experience usually falls within a spectrum of:
Do Nothing ——————————— Big Load on top of Dysfunction
Because we live in a world that thinks action is better than in-action in all circumstances, most weight training is going to lean towards Load on top of Dysfunction.
I would choose the left side. The first rule of training is “Do not hurt your athlete in the weight room.”
Diving deeply into the subject of how high school and college athletic programs are hurting their athletes’ bodies and performances via the weight room is subject for future blogs.
For now let’s see an example of how the FMS can provide value to athletes and protect them from high school coaches that don’t yet have the information they need to avoid hurting their players.
The Back Squat is one of the favorite strength training moves in high school and college weight rooms. We don’t use this lift for any of our clients as we believe there are safer, more sport-performance related methods of achieving the goal of increasing absolute strength and power.
But let’s stick with this example as it is revealing.
Look at all the places the body must hinge freely to execute this lift.
Ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and wrists must have the requisite range of mobility to achieve the posture.
In addition to the range of motion of many body parts, to execute this lift safely, the athletes must have a body with sufficient core strength to maintain the proper back posture.
All of those physical traits get revealed with the FMS.
An athlete without those traits will end up in a compromised position and should NEVER be allowed to execute the lift.
Until a qualified trainer helps the athlete master basic human movements, like the ones screened in the FMS, placing an athlete, especially a high school athlete under a load is practically criminal.
I’ve heard too many stories about local athletes having their vertebrae fractured because a coach put a load on a 16 year old that was riddled with constraints.
The FMS is the safe-guard we use and for which we advocate. If an athlete can not perform basic human movements like the ones screened in the FMS, how can they be expected to train and play at a high level?
Please feel free to contact me if you know an athlete that wants to perform at a high level. We love working with high school athletes that want to be the best they can be.
We are super excited to announce our newest program for those in the medical profession in Service Clinics for the Rehab Specialist. This is program that we’ve beeen working in for a while and now it’s ready to go.
One of the main issues we hear from those in the rehab community is that they hear great things about the Kettlebell, but just don’t know how to use them properly.