Modified Functional Movement Screening as a Predictor of Tactical Performance Potential in Recreationally Active Adults

Authors:  Glass SM, Ross SE

Failure to meet minimum performance standards is a leading cause of attrition from basic combat training.  A standardized assessment such as the Functional Movement Screen™ (FMS™) could help identify movement behaviors relevant to physical performance in tactical occupations.  Previous work has demonstrated only marginal association between FMS™ tests and performance outcomes, but adding a load challenge to this movement assessment may help highlight performance-limiting behaviors.  The purposes of this investigation were to quantify the effect of load on FMS™ tests and determine the extent to which performance outcomes could be predicted using scores from both loaded and unloaded FMS conditions.   Thirteen female and six male recreationally college students (21 ± 1.37 years, 168 ± 9.8cm, 66 ± 12.25kg) completed the FMS under (1) a control condition (FMS-C), and (2) an 18.10kg weight vest condition (FMS-W).  Balance was assessed using a force plate in double-legged stance and tactical physical performance was evaluated via completion times in a battery of field tests.  For each condition, penalized regression was used to select models from the seven FMS component tests to predict balance and performance outcomes.  The authors found that with balance, significant predictors were identified from both conditions but primarily predicted poorer balance with increasing FMS scores.  For tactical performance, models were retained almost exclusively from FMS-W and generally predicted better performance with higher item scores.  The authors concluded that FMS™ screening with an external load could help predict performance relevant to tactical occupations.  Sports medicine and fitness professionals interested in performance outcomes may consider assessing movement behaviors under load.

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