Functional Performance Pyramid Question

What’s your opinion on how to attack a “pigeon toe” gait? I have an athlete who destroys the FMS, but when he goes in to more dynamic tasks (SL triple jump especially), he exhibits a pretty severe hip internal rotation position. We’ve really hammered glute strength, but I haven’t seen much improvement on the jumping and landing positions. He is also one of the best jumpers on our team (approach vert of 35 inches with a 6’11” wingspan). Any suggestions?

This message came from one of my new colleagues, Nate Brookerson @ Eastern Washington University.  This is exactly a very exciting question because it demonstrates/redefines the basic nature of the FMS.  It seems to be confusing that the FMS comes out with a high score, but there is still biomechanical dysfunction in tasks of bigger intensity.
A pet pieve of mine is when folks say the FMS isn’t this, or it’s not that, and they might use an situation like Nate’s here as their evidence.  How good is the FMS when this person’s knee still buckles when he hops?  Well, I think the FMS worked perfectly in terms of identifying R/L asymmetries and major problems.  It doesn’t mean awesome or monster or bulletproof.  It screens only for fundamental movement and uses that as the foundation for the Functional Performance Pyramid.

So this individual has a large bottom of the pyramid, but he has an even larger middle of the pyramid.  The Triple Hop movement is not a fundamental movement test, but a performance test.  The FMS does not screen for performance.  If this young man has a 35″ vert, his engine is too powerful for the frame of the car, even though the frame is pretty good.

The beauty of the Functional Movement system is that the fix for fundamental movement and/or performance dysfunction is still the same.  If we are looking at single-leg issues, I would go to Chop/Lift series or even regressions with things like KB Halos or manual resistance in the half-kneeling position.  I would focus on getting the front foot in line with the back knee to create a truly authentic 1-leg stance through the knee.  Without the “kickstand” of the front leg and without the compliance of the foot, we can truly train single-leg stance and challenge the core with upper body patterns.
I would also consider what I call Qualifying for the Chop & Lift before assuming any dynamic shoulder pattern in the half-kneeling position.  This technique, which involves manual isometrics in the overhead and diagonal positions, primes the pump, if you will, for the core in the position you are training.
All of these techniques are all things I have learned from Gray, and they will be on my DVD when it comes out this summer.

  • June 2, 2010

Leave a Reply 12 comments

Nate Brookreson Reply

Great post Charlie. Can’t wait for the DVD. Can we get a discount if we reserve a copy? 🙂

Mark Oswald Reply

Hi, Charlie. As a relatively “green” strength and conditioning coach I have often felt out of my depth (and rightfully so) since Initially found your website. Will your upcoming DVD be geared at a more advanced audience or will it be a product that will reach less advanced and more advanced audiences alike?

I’m already sold that I would pick up a copy, so I suppose this is simply a question of whether it woud be appropriate to do so as soon as it becomes available or if it may be the type of product I should reserve for down the road after I have developed a broader foundation.

Charlie Reply

I am quite far from even thinking about discounts that people will not get.

Charlie Reply

Mark – I think the DVD will be useful for any trainer that has a good head on their shoulders. Experience is not a factor in my book. You may need to rewind or take notes more than others, but I recently did a 1-day where we went through about 80% of Day 1 on the DVD, and an experience trainer said to me there was good stuff for experienced and inexperienced trainers.
If you have an FMS background, you will feel more at home, but in all honesty, I think it will be useful for any clinician with or without experience as long as you can check some previous ideas at the door. If you don’t like what I’m saying, the ideas will be waiting at the door when you walk back out.

Mike T Nelson Reply

Can you explain how the FMS splits out fundamentals movements and performance, because I really can’t see any difference?

rock on
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

Charlie Reply

The FMS screens are appraisals of bodyweight movement with defined maximal excursions. These would be considered qualitative and measures of fundamental movement.
Performance would be quantitative measures such as 40 time, 1RM lift, med ball toss, or vertical jump. They may or may not resemble the screens.

It’s all semantics.

Mike T Nelson Reply

If it is all semantics, can we just measure performance then???

Rock on
Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

Charlie Reply

Of course, and you should. But the performance measures by these definitions are only in relation to the fundamental measures.
We will not put performance or fitness on top of dysfunction.

Nick Chertock Reply

Although I’m not at the level of Mike or Charlie in terms of my knowledge, I would say that it is necessary to separate the testing of function and performance because I can improve performance in a lift or a jump test through training and improved conditioning, but my movement quality may not improve or it may get worse in the process. You may ask, ‘who cares’, but without sound movement quality I am destined to get injured or prematurely plateau. As Gray says, laying fitness on top of disfunction gives the appearance of improvement and is how most coaches train athletes, but it’s not optimal because it’s not a long term solution unless the athlete happens to naturally move very well, in which case the FMS will do its job and show it.

Charlie Reply

Nick – The problem is that those that ask ‘who cares?’ really don’t care.

Cecile Chesla Reply

Hey, great post.

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