Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Evidence in Motion - Coordination Scoring with the Functional Movement Screen

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The inclusion of wireless surface EMG and motion capture is growing in popularity with Functional Movement Screen providers. Those using a combined option of surface EMG and movement screening, both basic and individualized, are getting direction from the data beyond what was thought possible. Both conditioning coaches and sports medicine professionals can see reports that identify specific muscle function and add more quantified analysis to testing. Leveraging the speed and simplicity of the Functional Movement Screen, as well as feedback benefits and easy adoption, athletes can get the right interventions with confidence.


Getting More Out of the Hurdle Step


Using the existing criteria provided by Gray Cook, specific movement impairments and muscle function can be scored with surface EMG by placing just a few electrodes to key muscle groups and using motion capture. Within minutes a professional can perform the FMS, score the screen conventionally, and report the details instantly. Using surface EMG, the athlete, the team, or entire facility and collaborators can quantify things like:


(1) Lateral bending of the spine from improper torso recruitment


(2) Lack of dissociation ability during hip flexion with compensation


(3) Hip hiking with low gluteal activity during stance


The above three examples are just the tip of the iceberg, and baseline testing can grade the effectiveness of corrective exercise strategies and show a clear cause and effect with training interventions. Recently national level athletes were screened using the FMS and a combined motion capture and surface EMG solution.



After scoring the FMS with surface EMG, actionable interventions in training and sports medicine can be directed more effectively. For example, an increase of single leg exercises and target muscle strengthening can augment hip abductor recruitment and strength can reduce hip hiking. Marching exercises placed in the movement preparation section of a training session to help learn to “create silence” to flexors of the spine for better dissociation during hip flexion. Finally, stability and relaxation can be improved by incorporating multi planar chops in both kneeling and split positions.



Without immediate, accurate, and motivating biofeedback, corrective strategies are not be as effective and athletes may be slower to show improvement. The live streaming option can accelerate learning, allowing athletes to get visual guidance and assist professionals in pinpointing the root cause of poor movement patterns. The combination approach of using the FMS and surface EMG with motion capture is a rapid and effective methodology for those looking to increase accountability, improve athlete performance, and even prevent recurring injury. Scoring movement and coordination using surface EMG is no longer just for research, it’s a clinical and performance option that is growing in the industry.


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Registration for the 2014 BSMPG Summer Seminar opens on Jan 1, 2014!