functional movement screen introduction

by Gray Cook

This is not just another training program. What makes District Combatives unique is our focus on building a program around you, rather than the other way around. You are the best resource in developing a sound training program. Why is that so important? 


Training fads and trends will keep coming. Some will work; some will not. Many of you will try things because their friends, training partners, teammates, or favorite pros say that they work. You’ve likely read magazine articles that recycle and repackage exercises for every ailment, problem, and body part. You’ve probably bought equipment because you thought that in this age of technology there maybe a secret way to train better or faster. But even if you stumble onto what seems to be the right workout, how can you be sure something isn't being left out? What type of assessment is used to decide what needs to be done? The claimed value of an training program is often based on nothing more than how much a particular exercise burns when a particular movement is performed. It may seem like science, but it's not.


Many exercise and conditioning programs are a mix of fact, fiction, biased opinions, advertising, media hype, and personal anecdotes. Ultimately, both you and instructors have to wade through all these options to decide how to spend training time. District Combatives provides the tools for an effective assessment, informed by a philosophy of balance that will act as a guide through the confusion of training. You will learn to refine movement and explore potential. You will learn to base training practices on what assessments show. You will assess your movement patterns and train accordingly. Movement, not muscles, will be a constant guide.


So, hear you are at the beginning. This can be a daunting place to be. Think of it as a trip. Dr. Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, describes a trip in terms of both efficient and effective travel. You need both a clock and a compass to make sure the journey is efficient and effective. If you look at the clock but not the compass you may make great time but arrived at the wrong place. If you look only at the compass you may eventually arrive at the right place but it may take too long.


For your trip, first you must create a map. Second, you must correctly read and interpret the map. Finally, you must consistently execute the necessary steps in the correct sequence in order to physically travel the journey.


To create a map for personal physical conditioning, you must understand and follow some physical laws and allow for your personal limitations. The physical laws that govern the human body and neuromuscular system dictate how the body responds to conditioning. These laws must be taken into account as you develop your map. Every individual has physical limitations with regard to time, space, and ability. Proper assessment tools will help you understand where you are and then set objective and attainable goals. District Combatives will help you understand the tools and techniques to be used and where they will be effective during the journey.


To read the map, you need consistent and objective feedback and should follow a specific sequential approach. This is about pacing. Strength and conditioning professionals call this periodization: it’s a way to make sure the individual peaks at the necessary time, usually at a point of vital competition. It’s easy to make mistakes by misinterpreting the map or by rushing through one leg of the journey only to be hindered in another leg by poor planning.


The steps of your journey must be executed in proper sequence. The journey itself is about the physical act of taking the daily steps necessary to progress forward and attain conditioning goals.


District Combatives focuses on efficient and effective methods for improving performance by addressing the fundamentals of human conditioning. We offer assessments for key fitness parameters and introduce basic building blocks of human performance that are often overlooked. These fundamental parameters explain why some injuries linger and others quickly disappear and why some individuals get better sports performance through weight training while others simply get bigger with no change or even a decline in sports performance.


Most programs are developed without all of the necessary information leading more to chance the necessary. Driving without a complete map maybe fun but it is not likely to get you where you want to go. The assessments we use will help set a baseline (the accurate information needed to draw a complete map) and help identify your strengths and weaknesses. The majority of the time will be spent on improving weaknesses. Many sports and conditioning philosophies advocate maximizing strengths, but it is better to confront weaknesses and move through problem areas.


Either nature or competition will find an overlooked weakness, too failing to address your weaknesses is simply not a good idea. We will explain how and why the weak link can increase the potential for injury and negatively influenced performance. Fix the problems when you find them, and remember that there are no shortcuts to greatness.


This stages, or levels, of conditioning dictate where to start your program. The sequential approach will help you understand how to move through each level, maintaining gains and modifying the program to address specific needs. You get control, keep control, and most important, understand why.


excerpt from Athletic Body in Balance -- optimal movement skills and conditioning for performance published by human kinetics