I have been fortunate to have had several students work with me over the past year. While most of these bright students have typically come from chiropractic colleges across the continent, Porter Brown is a graduating kinesiology student from the University of Alberta who will be entering his first year at CMCC this fall.
Aside from the daily assistance with my patients, Porter has been through many of the books on my bookshelf and many of the DVDs in my library. To say that he has saved several thousand dollars in the past 3 months is quite accurate.
Here is his unedited review of the book, "Movement."
Gray Cook, MSPT, OCS, CSCS with Dr. L. Burton, Dr. K. Kiesel, Dr. G. Rose & M.F. Bryant
Movement: Functional Movement Systems – Screening, Assessing, Corrective Strategies
On Target Publications
Aptos, CA. 2010
Hardcover, 407 pages
Movement is such a radical and ingenious book, that I am skeptical I can do it justice in just a few lines. Movement fills a gap in our knowledge about natural authentic movement that I never even knew existed. It proposes a paradigm shift is required for the way we view authentic movement patterns. Instead of dissecting human movement into individual parts (like our physiology, anatomy, chemistry classes taught us) we examine natural movement from a holistic perspective. With this new stance in mind, the author Gray Cook and his team, explain the lack of underlying principles for fundamental movement that exists in fitness and rehabilitation theory to date. Cook’s goal is to point out the lack of a standard operating procedure in existence for movement fundamentals and offer up the Functional Movement System to fill the void.
Gray Cook has his foot in the door for both the fitness (CSCS) and the rehabilitation (MSPT and OCS) fields; pairing these with years of experience makes him one of the leading minds in physical therapy and strength and conditioning theory.
Movement could be beneficial to everyone, but the intended audience are the health care and fitness industries. Professionals such as medical and chiropractic physicians, physical and athletic therapists, personal trainers, coaches, physical educators, and even people looking to become healthier (and not limited to this list) will gain the most from this read.
The organization of the book follows the same pattern as someone administering the functional movement system. It progresses from reasoning/explanations, to administering the screen/assessment, to creating and prescribing corrective exercises.
The book opens with a preface from Gray Cook, providing a hook that I’m afraid no one could resist, followed by chapters that are the meat and potatoes of Movement. This is where Cook presents the paradigm shift in the way of thinking. The ah-ha moment that sold me, occurred as Cook explained that the number one predictor for injury is previous injury, implying that something is drastically wrong with our current rehabilitation process. The process of looking at dysfunction, limitation, and asymmetry, as opposed to pain, was completely alien to me. I always believed that pain indicated where the problem is, but instead it’s the fire alarm going off telling us there’s a fire somewhere else in the body. Further, Cook’s explanation about the importance of breathing was so simplistic yet undeniably eye-opening. There is so much in these first chapters that one can read it over and over and take something away from it each time.
Movement progresses into explanations and instructions for administering the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). The FMS is a screen for discovering faulty fundamental movement patterns in the absence of pain, which can be used to correct patterns to reduce the chance of future injury. The SFMA is systematic clinical approach to discovering which movement patterns are dysfunctional/functional when there is pain present, a concept known as regional interdependence. The appendix provides SFMA flowcharts to assist the clinician in mastering the assessment process.
The subsequent section provides an understanding of corrective strategies, ways to develop corrective exercises, and methods for recording exercises on a corrective framework checklist. This section is unique compared to the last because it isn’t a pre-constructed system. It provides the reader with principles to follow without strict guidelines (which is one of the strengths of the FMS/SFMA). This makes it applicable to real life, because as new and better exercises are developed, this section will allow one to check them against logical principles.
The undisputable theme of this book is quality over quantity, a phrase that Cook incorporates into his philosophy: “First move well, and then move often”. This theme is well supported throughout the book as it is one of the underlying principles to Functional Movement Systems. The purpose of these systems is to provide a standard operating procedure to ensure there is fundamental movement quality instilled before movement quantity is of concern.
One aspect that I had a tough time deciding whether to call a strength or weakness is Cook’s thoroughness/repetition with certain topics, such as the mobility before stability rule. Upon reflection, I realized that the only thing Cook is repetitive about is the very important principles he wants to engrain into our thinking. I decided to refer to it as a strength indicating that he is thorough almost to the point of repetition.
Cook is an excellent communicator, something that is easy to see in his writing. He reduces and simplifies complex ideas with a few sentences and examples. It’s uncanny how many times I was forming questions in my head, only to be answered in the next sentence. It’s things like this and his first person informal tone, that make it seem more like you’re having a conversation with the man than reading his 400 page textbook. Not only is it expertly written, the content is just as impressive.
Although I’m sure Cook can sell me the shirt off my back, he’s not just a sweet talker. After reading this book and stepping away, I’m amazed at the common sense of it all. How in a world where fundamentals are stressed in so many aspects of life, are they not stressed in movement patterns?
I believe the philosophy behind this book is invaluable to absolutely everyone; movement quality over quantity. However the book itself is indisputable in its value to the fitness and healthcare world. I would recommend it to anyone in those fields. I personally (having borrowed the book) am going to purchase it so I can read it again. It’s one of those books that has so much in it you have to keep reading it to catch things you missed. I have seen both the FMS and SFMA in use and can attest to its usefulness, I even plan to become certified in both systems once I graduate from Chiropractic College.