Reader’s Comments on “THE TYRANNY OF THE FMS”


We recently published an article on the FMS Screen where Rob goes in on the “holes” of the screening system.  We’ve received some interesting comments/feedback from the MTI Community on social media which we wanted to share with you. If you too have questions, comments or thoughts on this matter, email us at



Good article. But I think one thing you’re forgetting about is the FMS is not a be all end all screen. It’s one tool in a toolbox full of other assessments and screens. The FMS does not measure fitness so that’s why it was not a good predictor for fitness like you mentioned. It only measures movement patterns. You should be including other strength and aerobic tests in your overall assessment of an athlete as well. Also for those athletes that you mentioned who scored poorly but were able to handle dings along the way … I think it’s important to look at why they can handle it and if they are compensating somewhere else. Something may be “working” for them now but it’s important to think about the long term side affects to what they are doing now. If we’re only thinking about our athletes in the short term and not the long term then we are doing them a disservice.

Sir – I didn’t write that the FMS was a predictor of fitness. What I wrote is that the FMS score has been marketed as a predictor of durability, but this simply hasn’t proven out in the research. Fitness, however, has been proven as a predictor of durability.


Interesting point you make about long term and short term. This may be true for recreational athletes, but it’s a serious risk for mountain and tactical athletes. The problem with FMS and other examples of excessive emphasis on mobility is time spent doing this stuff instead of getting mission-direct fit. Poor fitness is a clear and present danger for injury or worse for mountain and tactical athletes, right now. Not only is poor fitness a danger for the individual athlete, but because of the nature of their work/sport, one team member’s poor fitness can be a danger to other teammates and for First Responders, the public they serve. So I disagree that the emphasis on the short term is nearsighted, especially for military SOF and First Responders, who can be frequently in harms way at work.

– Rob



Thanks for the write up! Over the last decade of training both the general population as well as adventure athletes, I would concur that their initial fitness level is a great indicator of durability/injury. 

However, I’ve also been using the FMS for the last 5 years as a test/re-test on specific mobility restrictions. It’s been a great indicator of specific issues and allows us to individualize our programming. For example, if someone can’t touch their toes and they score a 1/1 on the ASLR, their risk of back pain/injury during exercise is extremely high. 

Similarly, If they have a large (3/1) asymmetry in their shoulder mobility, dumbbells or kettlebells have proved a much safer bet than the barbell when it comes to overhead work. 

Contrary to some of the FMS protocols, we’ve also seen that strength training will improve these numbers as well. This further validates your point about strength being a great indicator of fewer injuries. 

My point is that there’s definitely merit to these tests but that they’re also not the end all be all. The truth is that everything works, nothing works forever and there’s always room for improvement. 

I love MTI and the Mountain Athlete purpose and drive. I also recognize the fact that as health professionals, we have a responsibility to do no harm. 

As far as your point on warming up, I get it, a SWAT team member is not gonna do glute bridges before he has to clear a house. A Navy Seal isn’t going to o Ys, Ts and Ws before they jump in the ocean. 

However, what most fitness professionals do is TRAIN our students right? That’s why we call it training. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the purpose of training outside one’s work environment is to increase performance through strength, conditioning, agility, speed, balance, power and a number of other domains. But the one caveat is that you may get hurt on the mountain and you may get hurt on your job. You shouldn’t get hurt training for those things. Then you’re screwed. 

Our goal in training should be to help create the strongest, most capable humans on the planet. I love what you guys are doing, and if you’re not having any training related injuries, then awesome! Keep doing what works. 

I’m going to continue to screen new students coming in, individualize their programming and get them as strong as possible with as little risk as possible. (Minimal effective dose). This involves a few FMS tests, strength tests and thorough warm-ups and cool-downs. 

Keep on keepin’ on!


Copy all. Interesting on the ALSR and inability to touch toes as an indicator of potential low back issues. In my experienced low back/hamstring flexibility has not been an indicator of low back durability, but pay more attention moving forward.

Training-related injuries here? Our programming is high impact, and we’ve had a few, but I doubt no more or less than facilities who deploy more tame dynamic warm ups.

If the FMS is working for you, keep doing it. My bigger point is that the FMS has been marketed as an indicator of durability, and this simply has not proven out. Next is there’s a cost to excessive mobility training – especially at the expense of mission-direct fitness.

– Rob



Hi Rob. Agree with most of you on the “validity” of the “FMS product” because as you state: it’s a business. I do know about FMS and did the CF Mobility course and a few more by different organisations. I myself do not use FMS basically on my athletes for the reasons you state. A yoga practioner or dancer would score high on FMS but scores low on external load activities fe. A combination of an FMS score and a CF Total score would be more interesting imo.

When it comes to a warmup, I kinda agree with you, as a CF affiliate owner and head coach I warmup my athletes in every class. CF is a sport so I believe a warmup is appropriate. 

Bút as a tactical athlete myself (yes MTI and other programs) I also agree with you that as a sheepdog you don’t get a warmup, prehab or movement prep when it’s go time. 

On the other hand, training is training and real life is real life.

So in training I dó warm up by using Dynamic Movement Prep to fire up the CNS and some sort of activity to just get the body warmed up like a 500m row, jog or some shadow boxing… to maximize recovery and help keep injury at bay. As a 46-yo athlete who trains 7 days a week this is a real concern.

I believe this helps me to keep on training consistently so that when the time comes I can, without warmup, call on my abilities and conditioning to get the job done.


Copy All. I’m 49, and still do our warm ups …




Read The Entire Original Article Here: “The Tyranny of the FMS”


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