Functional Movement Assessments

Here, you’ll find various movement assessments Health and Fitness Professionals use when initially screening, and re-evaluating clients. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but simply the most common I’ve seen throughout my years of experience. To build a comprehensive list, we’d have to write an entire book. No joke, books have been written on this subject alone!

Human Movement

The human body is built for efficient movement. This is seen in toddlers performing bodyweight squats through their full range of motion with ease. Fast forward through school, puberty, and young adulthood, and the accumulation of wear and tear becomes apparent when watching movement. We simply lose our efficiency because of our postural habits (work/home) and injuries incurred through living life and playing sports. When you start a fitness program, it’s important to have someone assess how well you hold yourself up and move. These assessments are called Functional Movement Assessments. Below, you’ll get a brief run down on what each assessment is, and why it is performed.

Static Postural Assessment

This is usually the first thing a professional looks at. It’s how well you hold our body when standing up. Does your head protrude forward? Do your shoulders round? Is your pelvis tucked under you, or do you look like you have a little more curve? What are the knees and ankles doing?

Your fitness professional will look at several checkpoints, assess what is seen, and take note of it. Don’t get freaked out if you see or hear a lot of writing. This is important, and everyone has his or her fair share of postural inefficiencies! What is noted here sets a precedent for what may be seen in the Dynamic and Performance Assessments.

Dynamic Postural Assessments

Dynamic Postural Assessments put you through a certain movement to see how well (efficiently) you’re able to do it. My two favorites are the Overhead Squat, and Single Leg Squat. With these assessments, your fitness professional will get a good indication of where your muscles are working too much, and way too tight, versus weak, and not working hard enough. This is important, because often, a larger muscle will take over the duties of a smaller, weaker muscle – even though that movement is not its primary duty. This is called synergistic dominance, and can lead to overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or shin splints.

Overhead Squat Assessment

The Overhead Squat Assessment is almost an all-in-one, in the sense that it assesses your flexibility, core strength, balance, and muscle control with one movement. You’ll be asked to remove your shoes and face away first, standing with your feet shoulder width apart, arms fully extended, and hands raised towards the ceiling.

Next, you’ll be asked to perform 10 -15 squats with your professional watching you from all four sides. Again, you may hear a lot of writing. Do either of your arms drop? Head fall to the side? Butt tuck under? Knees cave in? Feet flatten? Most likely, you’ll experience one or more of these.

Single Leg Squat Assessment

Not everyone can perform this assessment (ie. elderly, injured), but for those that can, this test is a good validator of what was seen during the Overhead Squat Assessment. For this test, you’ll be asked to remove your shoes, face away, and balance on one foot, keeping your hands on your hips. You’ll then be instructed to perform 8-10 Single-leg squats. Once again, your fitness professional will scribble notes, and you’ll be freakin’ out. It really isn’t so bad. Everything noted during these assessments goes into building you a comprehensive, personalized fitness program!