If you are training on your own or at a gym it is important to use some kind of assessment tool. The assessment should highlight any weakness you might have/ anything that can hinder and de-rail your training. Luckily for all of us, Gray Cook has already developed this resource. The Functional Movement Screen or FMS as it is more commonly referred to, is a simple yet very effective assessment that can tell us a lot about a person, before that individual ever picks up their first dumbbell.

How Does It Work?

The FMS is a series of simple mobility and stability test scored from 1-3 and 0 if the client has pain during the movement. The best score for each test is a 3 and the lowest score (if pain doesn’t occur) is a 1. The total maximum score is 21. From this any trainer, therapist, and/or coach should be able to pin point issues that could cause problems in training.

Where Does Fat Loss Come into Play?

Using the FMS allows trainers and yourself to program around your needs and align them with your goals. Knowing what is needed will allow for three things. Lessen the likelihood of hitting a plateau in training, allow for you to move better and more efficiently, and reduce the chance of acquiring an injury.

Getting Stuck on a Plateau

At some point, we have all hit a plateau in the gym. Rather its weight loss, muscle gained, or hitting PR’s on lifts everyone has experienced it at some point, and more often than not it all comes down to movement, and really how good the quality of movement is in that person. Just because you can perform a movement doesn’t mean there isn’t dysfunction, human beings are great adapters. If we can’t do something we figure out another way of doing it, and while this might not always be a bad thing, in the case of exercise it can lead to serious problems down the road. When we don’t move well we compensate, when we compensate we develop imbalances, and when we develop imbalances we don’t maximize the results in our training. The better we move and the less we compensate our movements, the more weight we can lift. Lifting more weight means we can handle more volume throughout a week, a month, a year, etc. More weight being lifted translates to more fat being burned.

“Move Better, Move Often”

Gray Cook, the creator of the FMS coined this phrase and has made it popular worldwide. The better we move the more we will want to move. When we as people can’t do something well it’s only natural to steer away from it. So, if we suck at moving and it’s hard for us to get up and down, walk, run, lift weights, or do anything else that requires moving, we avoid it like the plague.  By moving better, we make our physical output (calories burned) more effective, and in the long run lose more fat.

Reduce Injuries.

My knee hurts, my shoulder hurts, my back hurts, my feet hurt. These are all common things said by not only people in gyms, but people in general. The FMS allows us to see possible problems and fix them before they become bigger problems. If you hurt even to the slightest degree you cannot train properly. Training and lifting weights should be in a controlled environment. If an injury occurs it could be because something was missed in the assessment process.

Using the FMS allows us to determine if a movement is faulty due to injury, a dysfunctional pattern, or simply if the person does not understand how to move properly.


I have done enough FMS test on clients to know the 99% percent of people don’t really care what their assessment looks like. However, it’s important to think of a poor score on the FMS as a roadblock in our training. To maximize our results in training we must move well. We must assess what is needed and what is not needed. If you’re not assessing your just guessing. With the research and experience behind the FMS there is no need to guess. Your health and training is too important.

Happy Training,

Brett Cummins