MOVEMENT QUALITY / LOWERING THE RISK OF INJURY
By Peter Lakatos
The screen generally used in preparation typically focuses on the quantitative movement values of the athlete. Strength, strength endurance, speed, reaction time, power, power-endurance, power – just to name a few areas that are possible to test. In this blog I will talk about the importance of movement quality.
Most people forget that every sport has risks, and a training program started with movement of bad quality has the risk of non-contact injuries. Thus an FMS measurement is recommended at the beginning of the program and then every month, and the discovered problems should be improved with corrective exercises. Of course FMS is not a medical test, so a sport medical or other – cardio-logical – check-up can be done prior to the preparation on-demand. But sport-specific sight-testing also has a place here as sight/perception/reaction are of high priority in these sports.
Let’s list briefly the 8 bio-motor skills:
All that the coach needs to acquire is the idea of FMS is to be able to observe the basic movement patterns he/she already knows. FMS contains tests with a basic grading system. Via FMS the coach also becomes capable of doing the functional movement pattern tests of people without any already recognizable problems. FMS is not trying to diagnose orthopedic degeneration; it only helps to recognize the asymmetries of healthy people and their limitations compared to the fundamental movement patterns – and also supports the approximation of the limited movement pattern to the fundamental one, if possible.
Via FMS the strength and conditioning coaches are able to evaluate the athlete with a method that’s really close to the athlete‘s or client‘s activities during the training. Actually the tests were improved by working out the variations of the tested skills. Evaluation is done via tests and movement patterns, and both are clear to the coach and to the client as well.
There are seven fundamental movement patterns in the screening that require the balance of mobility and stability. Fundamental movement patterns have been developed with the goal of being able to observe the basic motor, manipulative and stabilizing movements. During the tests the client has to keep a given posture, which helps the coach to discover the weak areas and imbalances immediately, if appropriate stability and mobility is missing. It’s been observed that many high-level athletes are making bad scores in these simple tests. In their case we have to realise that they’re using compensatory movement patterns during motion, thus sacrificing efficient movements for less effective ones, and this way they are able to compete on a higher level. If this compensation continues, the faulty movement patterns will strengthen, which leads to bad bio mechanical movement. Measuring and correcting movement quality is a recurring task during training planning, maintaining the required minimum quality is of high priority in every block, and in the unloading/pre-competition phase and immediately after the competition it’s the most important part of the training program.
One of the typical mistakes is that the coaches are unable to realize the great potential in the FMS test, as it’s not sport-specific. Discovering asymmetries, previous injuries, motor control and mobility flaws is about vulnerability, risk estimation, but it’s only one side of the medal. The other mistake is that by using the FMS test they think that they know everything about the athlete, but that’s a false assumption. The seven tests serve as a good entry point to the world of understanding and categorizing movement quality, but as a coach I also have to observe the problems in movement quality, breathing, movement coordination, stability and mobility which only appear when the athlete is in a loaded position while executing sport-specific movements.
Next, we talk about mobility and stability…To be continued..:)