As we received our degrees in Exercise Science, certifications to become Personal Trainers or Doctorate’s degrees to become Physical Therapists, we as health professionals made one promise; DO NO HARM!

Throughout the years of training individuals, and I mean that; everyone is an INDIVIDUAL… I have learned that every BODY is different. For the most part, everyone had a common goal:  weight loss, fat loss, tone, gain strength, increase cardiovascular endurance, feel better, move pain free, etc. Whatever the goal may have been, I still had a job to do; keep everyone SAFE. 


Enter the Functional Movement Screen.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) was introduced to me by my coach when I was slowly getting back into exercise proceeding a lower back injury. He had established a way to keep me safe and get me strong again. 

I knew this tool was GOLD.

I began using this tool in my practice and needless to say, I have had a 100% increase in the results of my clients. Clients experiencing pain, recovering from injuries, hurting themselves in sports and workouts, have all reached out to me in hopes of overcoming their injuries. Of course, all of them had the same concerns:

“Will I ever lift like I used to?” 

“Will I reinjure myself if I do?”

“How do I get back into it without getting hurt?”

Using the FMS as an assessment tool and incorporating the foundational movement patterns of the body, we can create a cohesive, structured and measurable program to assure you stay safe, are making progress and moving towards your goals. 


Warming up

With the results of a Functional Movement Screen, coaches can design a program to assure you safety as the client and rid you of any weaknesses or asymmetries that could cause any future injury, or any past injury to rear its ugly head. Appropriate warm-ups targeting joint mobility, core activation and stabilization are all necessary to assure your body is prepared to start any exercise. 

*** I will say this about warming up. You need to be DELIBERATE. If you are just going through the motions, you are missing the point of a warm-up.


Functional Strength Training

Once a thorough warm-up has been achieved, it is time to put a focus on strengthening the six major movement patterns of the body:  

  • Squat
  • Hip hinge
  • Upper body push
  • Upper body pull
  • Lunge (or single leg)
  • Core 

Using the FMS to establish a road map for programming, we now have a way to measure the clients’ progression without taxing the nervous system too much, or letting them do too little in which no change will occur. The bottom line is to find that sweet spot in which you as the client are making progress weekly, but not overdoing it. A skilled coach can guide anyone through this process. 

Dr. John Rusin, a respected Physical Therapist and Strength and Conditioning Specialist wrote an extraordinary article explaining the benefits of this type of training here:  "6 Foundational Movements that Every Person on Earth Needs to Master

The first 3 to 6 months of strength training for a beginner might be the most important lifting they will ever do. This is where you can create healthy habits, a positive training experience and dial in technique and form. In my opinion, learning and lifting should go hand-in-hand. 

Train smart, work hard and never give up.


By Stacy Torres CPT SFG FMS




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