If you had a weakness, wouldn’t you want to know?

by Michael Bates
Ramstein Health and Wellness Center

Everyone has weaknesses, especially in regard to physical fitness. With the new year starting and people everywhere working on resolutions to get in shape, injury prevention should also be a priority.

What people don’t know is that their current training regimen could actually be holding back their performance. Even worse, it could be making them more susceptible to injury. The Ramstein Health and Wellness Center now offers a solution to this problem: Functional Movement Screen. The FMS can pinpoint any weak links based on different movement patterns that test stability and mobility.

The terms “stability” and “mobility” are often misunderstood, but they are the fundamental building blocks of all athletic performance. Mobility is the combination of muscle elasticity, joint range of motion and the body’s freedom of movement.

Stability, on the other hand, is our ability to maintain posture and/or control our body’s motion. For example, runners may develop hip stiffness because of so many miles of training and repetitive motions. When the hips become stiff in the end ranges of flexion, extension and adduction, the lower back muscle have to sacrifice their stability to achieve greater mobility in compensation for the hips’ limitations.

Specifically, excessive flexion, extension and rotation occur in the lower back in an attempt to compensate for a relatively decrease stride length during running caused by the stiffness in the hips. These imbalances decrease running efficiency and increase the chances of hip or back injury.

The FMS consists of seven basic movement patterns that challenge the stability and mobility of our bodies. During each movement, a score is given based on the quality of the movement. At the end of the assessment your score is tallied up and out of a total of 21 points, those who score below 14 could have muscular imbalances or asymmetries that degrade stability, mobility or both. Corrective flexibility and strength training exercises will be prescribed. When this is accomplished, you will have greater movement efficiency, which will lead to improved performance and hopefully a decrease in injury potential.

Without a doubt, physical fitness plays a big role in today’s Air Force and all branches of the military. Everyone who participates in physical activity has a certain goal in mind, such as getting stronger, faster, improving a skill set or overall health. However, due to the nature of training, sometimes we develop poor movement patterns, train around a pre-existing problem, or simply do not train our weaknesses. FMS can assist you with these issues. The HAWC offers FMS screening weekly; see our calendar on our Facebook page (search “Ramstein HAWC”) or call and set up an appointment. What are you waiting for? Come by and let us show how you can maximize your performance and reduce your risk of injury.