“Personal trainer” is sometimes an oxymoron. Depending on the trainer, multiple clients can end up doing virtually the same program, regardless of their goals. But each person is unique, with vastly different experience and ability, so how can a generic program work effectively for everyone? Even if a group of people have the same goal, each would attain it differently.
To make training truly personal, it would seem to make sense to have some guide that would point the optimal way for you to achieve your fitness goals. A movement screen is that guide. Without screening, any fitness program is guesswork because it cannot address an individual’s idiosyncracies. For the person with a past injury, a haphazard program can only expose her to possible further injury, and at the very least limit her success.
Among personal trainers, the better educated are using the “FMS” screen in their practices, to better serve their clients. The more astute among these work with doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. These professionals, in turn, have a medical version of the FMS, called the SFMA; the Selective Functional Movement Assessment. In the NY/NJ metro area, Dr. Kathy Dooley, DC, and Dr. Perry Nickelston, DC both utilize the SFMA. The SFMA is used in situations where pain is present. The personal trainer, not qualified to treat pain, can refer to the medical professional. The FMS and SFMA provide for a common language and understanding between and among fitness and medical pros.
Getting screened is quick and painless. The most difficult part of a screen is facing the reality that you have a weakness or weaknesses. None of us like that. But getting fit is usually about getting stronger, in some way. And you’ll only get as strong as your weakest link allows. It may help to know that you’re in good company. Among the organizations employing movement screens:
- US Navy Seals
- NFL: Colts, Falcons, Jets, more
- NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning, more
- Police, Firefighters, and First Responders
Despite their egos and protests, these performer’s strength coaches screened them and had them face their weaknesses in order to improve performance. These organizations, and human lives, depend on the fitness and durability of their members. Special operations troops and multi-million dollar athletes are no good if they’re sidelined. And, through screening and corrective exercise, these organizations have enjoyed higher performance and less time lost due to injury.
If you get your workouts from a magazine, or if you design your own workouts, take some time to get screened. If you work with a personal trainer, the only way you’ll get a personalized program is through a screen, so ask for one. If he doesn’t know what you’re talking about, get one who does. You deserve the highest level of fitness.