At KDR Fitness in Lebanon, N.H., 20 athletes from Randolph Union High School are put to the test.
"The purpose of the FMS system is to basically allow us to identify how well an athlete moves," said Ben Dearman of KDR Fitness.
The Functional Movement Screen or FMS for short is a series of seven 20-second tests of normal, everyday movements, like lunging and stepping, that help trainers identify where you might develop an injury down the road. Each test is scored from a zero to a three. There are 21 total points and if you have any pain, you get a zero for that test.
Pain or no pain, if one side of your body can complete the exercise better or worse than the other, you still get a low score. Dearman says despite how fast you can run or how high you can jump, athletes who are imbalanced or asymmetric are often at a higher risk for injury.
"One side does one thing and the other side something else," Dearman said. "So, the body has this internal conflict going on and it doesn't really understand. 'Where do I go? Do I go right or do I go left?'"
The FMS was put to the test in a 2007 study conducted by the University of Evansville. The test was given to 46 pro football players at the start of the season and their injuries were tracked as the play went on. In the end, players with a score below 14 were 11 times more likely to get hurt. Since then, the FMS has continued to gain respect and popularity.
"I'm definitely curious. I think I'm pretty fit, but I'm curious to see what it is. Maybe somewhere in my legs is probably pretty weak," said Evan Williams, a basketball player at RUHS.
The test won't make you a better athlete, but the results could help you stay in the game for years to come. The trainers evaluate each athlete's score and give recommendations to balance out their bodies, whether it's strengthening, stretching, or physical therapy to figure out where the pain is coming from.
"I think one, it's going to give my coaches tools to use during their warm-ups, so that they're dynamic and that we make sure we're targeting the weaknesses we have in our athletes," said Jamie Kinnarney, the athletic director at RUHS.
Kinnarney says though the health of his sports teams is important for their competitions, he hopes the athletes will take the information to heart for many years to come.
"I hope that what it does is that they think about the importance of taking care of their body, so that when they are 50 or 60 they can still go out and hike in the mountains of Vermont and they don't have knee injuries or they've already had a knee surgery," Kinnarney said.
This may be the one test where getting a zero could mean you're smarter and healthier in the end.
Dearman says the test isn't meant for kids younger than 14.
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