I spend a fair bit of time on movement evaluation and giving clients feedback on how to optimize fitness. Sadly, in objective testing, even some of the most revered screens and muscle testing abjectly fail: https://www.painscience.com/.../functional-movement...
The Functional Movement Screen, which I’ve long said has major limitations, is held up by many in this industry as a sort of gold standard. Among other screens and muscle testing, once it’s put under the microscope, we find it has SOME value; but basically all practitioners oversell the capabilities of such things. Frequently, I work with people who had hoped in some high level expert in one of these related modalities, only to discover zero staying power. As you can see for yourself in this excoriating review by Pain Science, the nature of these types of evaluations is sketchy. It’s not entirely without merit, but I do know people who’ve settled into an unmovable ideological worship of these methods and simply cannot handle criticism of their fitness “religion.”
On the other hand, I invite it. My favorite part of my week is receiving critical input. I have no fixed ideology other than pragmatism; so I can throw literally everything out today and I would not only be entirely unaffected, I would be happier, because my knowledge base must be getting closer to practical truth. I’m reminded of Bruce Lee’s efforts with Jeet Kune Do. Fixed styles are destined to come to ruin, because they cannot adapt, they cannot evolve, they cannot improve.
Regarding movements screens, I have increasingly shifted toward ones that the layperson can do on his or her own. External subjective evaluation is inherently a little problematic, even in approved therapies and official medical tests. People are so quick to try to deal crushing blows to Covid testing or fill-in-the-blank with any man-made system which, by definition, cannot ever achieve 100% accuracy or effectiveness. Dish it out. But you have to be able to take it too. All we can do is refine, refine, refine, and improve, improve, improve. So your own metric for evaluation is garbage as well, if your expectation for testing is that it hit some mythological perfection.
This is also where the Pain Science article utterly fails. When working with people over time, a fixed system of evaluation which passes the external objective metric muster, would have zero training value. We must adapt with clients. Clinicians must evolve with patients’ progress or regress. Though the FMS may fail at diagnostic assurance, proven diagnostic assurance has unreliable outcomes as well once we stretch our perspective past the immediate symptomatic relief. Diagnostic assurance tends to move away from holistic healing and simply toward symptomatic resolution. To be clear, consider an objective diagnosis like an ankle break (e.g. - fibular hairline fracture). We rely on that x-ray or MRI as the word of God. The problem is that now we are doing everything to reduce the symptoms of ankle break, and then think we have solved the problem. But the problem may be weakness that long preceded the ankle break. The problem may be deteriorating neuromuscular efficiency or speed and/or strength and reactive power. The problem is all kinds of other things. The symptom was ankle break. The finite objective analysis has a sample bias embedded. It defines a symptom. It obsesses on that symptom. Voila. The symptom is gone. Ergo, we reason, incorrectly, that it is always superior to something like movement screens. But that is a logic error and a purposely unfair evaluation of one's own desired conclusion. In rigorous tracking with coaching clients, I find that people who address orthopedic issues this way have temporary symptom relief (the process "worked') only to find overall worsened health and/or capabilities.
Be careful not to throw your whole support behind any one technique, one system of evaluation, one style of criticism, one political leader. The universe changes and there you sit still claiming your old unchanged belief is the best. If it doesn’t change, it isn’t even good, let alone the best. We must be able to take it, not just dish it out. Once we free ourselves from a single unshifting position, we can take it, because we can move. We can grow. We can improve. We can refine. Then, and only then, maybe we’re warranted in dishing it out. Before then, criticisms are just excuses for you to refuse to move.
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