The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a pre-participation screening tool designed to identify compensatory movement patterns that are indicative of increased injury risk and inefficient movement that causes reduced performance. In most populations, the FMS sum score ranges between 13 – 15 points, and many trials have reported norms of around 14 points.
The FMS sum score is positively associated with increased physical activity and negatively associated with higher BMI, age, and the presence of breathing pattern disorders. It is not associated with previous injury, athletic ability, postural stability, time within the competition season, or gender. The FMS sum score appears to be very reliable between raters (inter-rater) and within raters for a video of the same test (intra-rater).
However, test-retest reliability is less reliable, indicating that the same subjects may score differently on different occasions. The FMS displays poor construct validity, poor criterion reference validity, poor content validity in respect of both injury risk and movement efficiency, and poor concurrent validity in respect of both injury risk and movement efficiency. Many investigations have found that the odds of experiencing an injury are higher in subjects who score <14 points on the FMS sum score.
However, there is considerable variation between studies in the reported results. Although it has been suggested that the FMS can measure efficiency of movement (and this implies athletic performance), the FMS sum score is not associated with either level of athletic performance or ability in athletic tasks, such as sprint running, agility or jumping. Various different exercise programs appear to improve FMS sum score, including yoga, resistance training, functional training, and general military training. However, since the improvements are lower than the mean difference to be considered real, care should be taken in interpreting the results.