CLINICIAN EDUCATION:  Functional Movements

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) defines functional movement as:
“All functional movement patterns involve deceleration, stabilization and acceleration, which occur at every joint in the kinetic chain and in all three planes of motion.”

While this makes a good textbook definition, what does it actually mean? The NASM offers the overhead squat assessment (left image) as their assessment means.

Gray Cook and the Functional Movement Screen offer 7 specific movements that comprise their philosophy: overhead squat, step over, quadruped stability, lunge, pushup, straight leg raise and shoulder mobility (i.e. Apley’s scratch or “zipper” test).

Our philosophy is that a functional movement should encompass a movement out patient makes on a daily basis. Simple activities of daily living require: acture, hip hinge, overhead reach, high step march and axial rotation. We then break this down to assess the dysfunctional joint(s):
1) Is there sufficient length to the myofascia of the movements antagonist’s to allow the movement to occur?
2) Is there sufficient mobility of the capsule to allow the movement to occur?
3) Is there sufficient strength to the movement’s agonist to allow the movement to occur?

What is your definition/example of a functional movement?