This issue just keeps coming up in my life and practise. I’ve gone from one extreme to the other on this topic. When I was working as a personal trainer and early in my therapy career I was massively in favour of movement screens. I was kind of brought up on them in my personal training career, looking for a way to make sense of the complexity of human movement. During my year on GIFT I have to say I swung to the other extreme. By the time I became a facilitator on GIFT 2009 I was dead against them, the Gray Institute set a task to develop a Movement Screen, which was a great learning opportunity.
Since then I have been back and for!! Some times I try and work out my own movement screen and sometimes I’m back opposing them like they’re the devil…Very confusing for me!!! Can’t make my frigging mind up! At the FASTER conference Kelvin Giles talked on a few areas, which included a physical competency test…and so I’m back thinking about screening again!! Since one of the reasons I started blogging 2 years ago was to try and clarify my thoughts on issues I can’t make my mind up about…I thought I should put it to work 🙂 So today I thought I would lay out the positive and negatives of a movement screen…whether there will be a conclusion who knows!!
Positives of a Movement Screen
- It gives you a bench mark from which to start with:
If you are trying to progress someone in therapy or performance it’s very difficult to know what you’ve achieved if you don’t know where you are starting. A movement screen could tell you where you are, so begins the journey, shows you the direction you should travel and gives you a bench mark to see how far you’ve come.
- It gives you a snap shot of the patients ability:
Some patients show you their movement dysfunction as they walk into the room, others are able to compensate so well you have to really push them to find the dysfunction. A good movement screen could expose these dysfunctions and show you areas that even elite performers can work on to improve performance or reduce pain.
- It gives you data to look back on and see progression/or not…and to see if any trends appear:
One thing about injury prevention is that it’s difficult to prove something hasn’t occurred. Most of the time the best we can do is be observant of trends and use our knowledge and instinct to guide us. If you are consistent with screening you have a better chance of seeing a pattern and therefore better able to adapt training in the long run.
Negatives of a Movement Screen
- It needs to be measurable and repeatable, which makes a true functional movement screen very difficult:
This is probably my major doubt, to make something consistent, reliable, measurable, repeatable, etc you have to take the movement so far away from function what you are measuring maybe a long way from the functional movements we see in sport. This raises the question of a movement screens true value.
- Finding a correlation between the tests and movement performance is very difficult:
Like I said, if the movements tested are very distant from the movements you are using in your sport it is very difficult to draw conclusions. And of course, if you dealing with people in different sports, different positions within a team, different injuries, different stages of recovery, etc…your movement screen will have to adapt.
- As a believer in function; testing in true functional movement patterns is nearly impossible:
The complexity of movement is kind of obvious, but to quantify it’s subtleties is almost impossible. Even with relatively basic functional movement skills the number of movements of body parts in all 3 planes makes life quite tricky when you want to find a repeatable measure.
- It really comes down to the skill of the therapist…not the screen!
While working with Lesley McBride we talked about this a lot. I was in a stage of being dead against movement screens (not sure why so extreme at the time!!), and I couldn’t see their value. Lesley changed my mind in that…(thanks Lesley) and I realised something important…a successful movement screen is more down to the skill of the therapist than the movement screen. However, this leaves you with one significant problem, what works for one therapist won’t work for another and it is likely that inter tester reliability is really poor!!
I’ve reached my self imposed word limit….so I’ll have to pick this up on Thursday if that’s ok? I want to discuss a few other issues and then try and draw a few conclusions…in the mean time if you have anything to add please post it in the comments and we can try and iron this movement screen thing out 🙂
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