FMS/SFMA Michigan


What is it?

Put simply, the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function. By screening these patterns, the FMS readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries. These are issues that can reduce the effects of functional training and physical conditioning and distort body awareness.

The FMS generates the Functional Movement Screen Score, which is used to target problems and track progress. This scoring system is directly linked to the most beneficial corrective exercises to restore mechanically sound movement patterns.

Exercise professionals monitor the FMS score to track progress and to identify those exercises that will be most effective to restore proper movement and build strength in each individual.

What does FMS do?

The FMS simplifies the concept of movement and its impact on the body. Its streamlined system has benefits for everyone involved – individuals, exercise professionals, and physicians.

  • Communication. The FMS utilizes simple language, making it easy for individuals, exercise professionals, and physicians to communicate clearly about progress and treatment.
  • Evaluation. The screen effortlessly identifies asymmetries and limitations, diminishing the need for extensive testing and analysis.
  • Standardization. The FMS creates a functional baseline to mark progress and provides a means to measure performance.
  • Safety. The FMS quickly identifies dangerous movement patterns so that they can be addressed. It also indicates an individual’s readiness to perform exercise so that realistic goals can be set and achieved.
  • Corrective Strategies. The FMS can be applied at any fitness level, simplifying corrective strategies of a wide array of movement issues. It identifies specific exercises based on individual FMS scores to instantly create customized treatment plans.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) examines seven fundamental movement patterns that make basic function possible. These movement patterns include:

  • Deep Squat
  • Hurdle Step
  • Inline Lunge
  • Shoulder mobility
  • Active Straight Leg Raise
  • Trunk Stability Push-Up
  • Rotary Stability

Each movement pattern is given a score from 1 (low) to 3 (high), with the overall screening results then utilized to create a corrective exercise program aimed at maximizing both mobility and stability throughout the body. In addition, the test can be repeated at specific intervals to determine the effectiveness of the prescribed program as well as make new recommendations.

The FMS is best utilized near the end of a rehabilitation program when pain is no longer present. The results may then be used to prescribe a post-rehabilitative exercise program as well as supplemental exercises to be utilized alongside a previously established strength or fitness routine. To learn more about how a Functional Movement Screen may help you achieve optimal motion, contact HealthQuest Physical Therapy to determine how testing may best serve you.


Many clinicians confuse the Select Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) with the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). Both tools are a part of the same Functional Movement System created by Cook and colleagues, but their fundamental purposes are quite different. The SFMA is meant to be used in a diagnostic capacity, designed to identify musculoskeletal dysfunction among individuals affected by pain. Whereas the FMS is a screening tool, not intended for diagnosis. The FMS aims to identify imbalances in mobility and stability during functional movements.


SFMA is a diagnostic system (that can only be performed by medical professionals) similar to that of the McKenzie system. The SFMA assessment is broken down into 7 Top Tier tests and graded as Functional and Non-painful (FN), Functional Painful (FP), Dysfunctional Non-painful (DN), and Dysfunctional Painful (DP). If a Top Tier test does not pass the FN grade, then that specific movement must go to a breakout pattern to find the true cause of dysfunction. To simplify things, the “true cause of dysfunction” can either be viewed as mobility (Tissue Extensibility Dysfunction (TED)/Joint Mobility Dysfunction (JMD)) OR a Stability/Motor Control Issue (SCMD). 

The SFMA has been used to identify remote dysfunctions through the utilization of 7 top-tier (ie, basic movement) assessments:

Cervical Patterns

Upper-Extremity Patterns 

Multi-Segmental Patterns

The results of the SFMA are separated into 4 categories:

  1. Functional non-painful;
  2. Functional painful;
  3. Dysfunctional non-painful;
  4. Dysfunctional painful.

The SFMA has also been used to evaluate athletes in various sports such as soccer, weight lifting, running, and baseball.

Available at:

Because the SMFA system has a copyright, to see an example of the scoring system, please consult their website and their associated courses.


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