Should I get screened for injury risk before starting a new exercise program?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

People often ask; Should I get screened before starting an exercise program? Do I only need to get screened if I've been injured before? Do I only need to get screened if I've never exercised before? I'm not injured so what am I going to get out of it anyway? Let's go into the reasons why everyone should get screened before starting a new exercise program and what they can get out of it.

Firstly, this applies to ANYONE who is beginning a new type of exercise. It applies if you've never exercised before, it applies if you are starting a new sport or a new form of exercise you haven't done in a while, it applies if you are starting an intense period of exercise such as an 8 week challenge at your gym and it applies if you just want peace of mind that your body is going to hold up to what you are going to throw at it.

Our musculoskeletal screening of choice is the FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT SCREEN (FMS). It consists of 7 movements and each movement is scored out of 3 points, giving 21 as the highest possible score. It gives us so much information about how your body is moving and performing. What's better, there is actually research that backs up the results of this screen, so the score actually means something and can predict your risk of injury! It looks at almost every joint in the body in what's known as open and closed chain movement, giving us a great snapshot of where your body is at.

Once you've been through the 7 movements, you will have a score out of 21. The important thing here is that it isn't the total score that gives us all the information, but indeed, how you did in each test or movement. What the research really shows is that if you can achieve at least a score of 2 out of 3 for all 7 tests then your injury risk drops right down! Following this logic, it is better to have a score of 14/21 from scoring all 2's than a score of 16/21 that includes some 0's or 1's.

Once we find which movements you scored a 0 or a 1 in, and the reasons behind this then we know where to start in terms of treatment to reduce your risk of injury! Once we enable you to turn that 0 or a 1 into at least a 2 then your injury risk is reduced! It's that simple and logical.

So once you receive your score, what should you do with that information? Ideally, you should figure out which areas need to be improved and then start improving them! It does however, come down to whether you tend to be a PROACTIVE or REACTIVE person at heart. If you are proactive, then you will love the opportunity to find out where your weaknesses lie and what you need to do to improve on them. If you are reactive, it may give you some area's to keep an eye on, and if you start to feel niggles in those areas you will know why and can then get them treated. Ideally, however the reason for a good screening and follow up treatment is so that you don't get injured in the first place!

For more information on the FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT SCREEN (FMS) you can visit

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