What Does a Functional Movement Specialist Do?

Natural movement focuses on improving daily body mechanics and creating a more efficient pattern for everyday activities. A functional movement specialist is an expert in this area, working to identify and correct any musculoskeletal imbalances. They apply various techniques, such as corrective exercises, stretches, and mobility drills, to address each individual’s needs. Here are some of the roles performed by the movement mechanics specialist:

Assessment of Movement Health

A functional movement specialist will begin by conducting a comprehensive assessment of a client’s movement health. This may involve observing the individual’s posture, gait, and specific muscles related to daily activities or sports. They will also review any past injuries or complaints affecting motion patterns.

Based on this assessment, the specialist will identify any imbalances or dysfunctions in the musculoskeletal system that may be causing pain, discomfort, or poor performance. They evaluate how well a person moves using tools such as the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). This includes simple tasks like standing, walking, and complex physical activities.

Development of Functional Training Programs

Designing a training program for an individual requires understanding their specific needs and goals. These experts use their knowledge of anatomy and postural assessments to create these programs. They carefully consider the individual’s unique movement patterns and potential restrictions.

The specialist may use various tools, such as resistance bands, kettlebells, or bodyweight exercises, to target specific muscle groups and improve overall motion patterns. They may incorporate balance and coordination exercises to enhance neuromuscular control and stability. The program will also progress as the individual’s movement health improves for continued development and injury prevention.

Implementation of Corrective Exercises

Corrective exercises target and correct specific dysfunctions identified during the assessment process. They aim to improve mobility, stability, and overall movement quality. The specialist will carefully select exercises tailored to the individual’s needs, focusing on weak or underactive muscle groups and addressing imbalances.

 A specialist may also incorporate foam rolling or other self-myofascial release techniques to improve tissue quality and range of motion. Regular implementation of corrective exercises can reduce the risk of injury and improve overall efficiency, leading to better performance in daily activities and sports.

Emphasis on Progression and Variation

The basic movements involved in functional training, such as squatting, pushing, pulling, and rotating, can be modified and progressed to suit an individual’s specific needs. Progression involves gradually increasing the load or intensity of an exercise over time. This helps improve strength and endurance while challenging the body to adapt and progress.

Variation allows the body to adapt to different movement patterns, preventing plateaus and promoting overall movement health. The combination of progression and variation in functional training leads to continued mobility, stability, strength, and movement quality improvements.

Large Group Testing and Intervention Strategies

Large group testing and intervention strategies involve assessing and addressing common movement dysfunctions within a larger population, such as a sports team or workplace. This approach identifies common issues among individuals and implements targeted exercises and techniques to address them. 

It can also promote a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among participants. The testing can include Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). This screening involves a series of movements to identify any imbalances or limitations in mobility and stability. Intervention strategies may include stretches that target specific areas of difficulty.

Benefits of a Functional Movement Specialist

The specialist takes an individualized approach to training, tailoring exercises and progressions based on a persons range of motion. The focus is on aesthetics or performance and overall movement quality and function. This helps prevent injuries and improve overall physical health.

Expert Knowledge and Guidance

Working with a professional who understands the nuances of body mechanics can provide valuable knowledge and guidance. They can help identify weak areas and provide modifications for exercises. Their expertise can also assist with developing a personalized training plan that targets a specific imbalance.

Progressive Training 

They emphasize progression, starting with basic movements and gradually introducing more complex exercises. This method allows for proper technique and form to be established before moving on to more challenging movements. It prevents injuries from improper form.

Get Professional Guidance

A functional movement specialist assesses and addresses any imbalances or limitations in mobility and stability through a series of movements. They provide individualized training plans, implement corrective exercise, and offers expert guidance and intervention strategies to improve movement quality. Consider working with a specialist to seek overall physical health and preventive care.

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