FMS vs. TPI Performance Screen

Some time ago I was asked to review the thought process of using the FMS or the TPI Performance Screen or some combination of the two on the first day of evaluation.
Given the redundancy of the 2 screens and the position changes and time required, doing both is probably not an efficient choice.

Let’s start with some assumptions or definitions of what each of the screens are supposed to do or be useful for.
The FMS is a measure of risk of injury in entering into aggressive physical activity.
The TPI Performance Screen is a little different where it is a measure of risk of injury or poor play specifically in playing golf.

Ever since being exposed to TPI, I have felt fairly confidently that the golf swing is the pinnacle of human movement.  I don’t think there is any other move that can 1) demand the interplay of mobility and stability, and 2) harness movement, strength, and speed into a definable event of demonstrating power.  I don’t think there is any other athletic movement that demands such excellence in movement and can express basic power development through a swing.  The line between success and failure and injury and durability is very, very fine.  It is the pinnacle of human movement in terms that when performed correctly (outside of stack and tilt in my opinion), it is safe and embodying the Joint by Joint that I think governs all movement.

So I do believe that the TPI Performance Screen can screen out for movement dysfunction or pain for any individual, not just golfers.

I also believe though that fundamental movement comes before golf.

Both screens are incredibly valuable, and there is no wrong choice to this question.  Obviously many of the screens are duplicated in each Screen as well.

When I answered AC from Drive495 in NYC, we ultimately chose to do the FMS + the Pelvic Tilt, Pelvic Rotation, and Torso Rotation Tests.  I suggested to do the 1st 3 TPI screens and go into the FMS which would limit position changes.  Certainly those 3 TPI Screens are very golf-centric and probably a good idea for a very golf-oriented facility.
I then suggested to add 2-3 of the TPI Performance Screens to each session, so that my the 3rd or 4th session, you would have all of the TPI Screens done.  And by that time, you would have potentially improved the FMS to a symmetrical 14, adjudicated risk for injury to some degree, and could focus on the risk of poor performance through the TPI corrective and conditioning programming.

And everybody’s happy.

In the end, I am under the impression that Greg Rose’s and Dave Phillips’ data behind the TPI Performance Screen measures out risk for injury and success in golf alone.
The FMS measures risk for injury in fitness activity.

They are very congruent, but each have a role to stand alone or work together.  And in the end, I do believe that if you well fix one, you will probably fix the other as well.

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  • March 15, 2011

Leave a Reply 9 comments Reply

Good stuff; I use the FMS w/everyone and the TPI with golfers and other “rotational” athletes. I would suggest the baseball swing is more demanding than the golf swing as it requires hitting a moving ball with much the same mechanics as a golf swing in terms of joint by joint, timing, etc.

gene Reply

Bruce, with respect to swinging a baseball bat vs a golf club, I would think that the various slopes of land, lengths of clubs, surface substance (sand, grass, etc.), balance adaptations and numerous variations of shot making, would make the golf swing a very arduous task as compared to the baseball swing.
Both ballistic movements are difficult to repeat and demand expert timing and motor / eye / hand coordination to be successful.

Tim Vagen Reply

I think that both of you are falling into the common arguement of golf vs. baseball. Let’s take out the actuall “skill” of the sport and take a look at just the mechanics of the swing itself. Personally, I feel that the angular approach of the golf swing is more difficult kinematically than baseball’s horizonal swing in relation to the body. Also the stability in taking the club back in golf requires a tremendous amount of mobility and stability. I think that’s why I was a rower 🙂

Charlie Reply

Of all the complexities that challenge the golf swing, the baseball guy has to strike a moving ball that may not even be moving straight. They are both amazingly challenging.
I do believe the golf swing requires more movement integrity by its nature.

All of that being said, training for movement and performance has nothing to do with sports skills. It can have adjustments for injury patterns, but I would not support training a golfer and baseball player any differently.

Seth Reply

I use a combination of FMS with Janda/Lewit and McGill screens all the time but am having trouble finding an info on the TPI screen outside of their seminar. Do they have a book or DVD on the screeen? Thanks!

Charlie Reply

Seth – The entire TPI Level 1 course is all accessible on The “book” if you will is the manual to the course, which I also highly recommend.

Hector Reply

How does the FMS system compare to the Chek approach to assessing golfers? Trying to figure what’s worth investing in.


Charlie Reply

Hector – I’m sorry, but I have no visibility on what Chek does in terms of golf.

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