davedraper.com home

First Things First

Before you get distracted by all the great options you're about to find here, please sign up for Dave's free weekly newsletter so he can continue to encourage and motivate you toward your fitness goals.
Chris M writes:
"You blend plain-spoken wisdom, motivational fire and wry humor into a weekly email jolt that leaves me itching to hit the gym. Whether I'm looking for workout routines, diet tips or a friendly kick in the butt, the Bomber comes through every time." ... Read more...

Stanford, with Gray Cook & Stuart McGill


My history in the fitness field starts with powerlifting and bodybuilding beginning in 1980, and stretches through a 15-year gym ownership up until 10 years ago when the real movement learning began. If you stop for a second and imagine that, you’ll see a picture of average trainees most likely training badly — hard but badly — with few elite athletes in sight.

This has always been where my head goes when I think of the value of the Functional Movement Screen… as a tool for smart, eager-to-learn but average personal trainers working with physically average, happy-to-be-exercising adults.


And that’s why I get frustrated when all the conversation about the FMS is wrapped around injury prevention for elite athletes in sports and elite men in tactical careers. The value to all the rest of us gets left in the dust, looking unimportant.

I spent Saturday at Stanford University along with about 350 clinicians and strength coaches listening to eight hours of Gray Cook and Stuart McGill debating the use and research of the FMS. At one point, Gray said, “Once you get about 50 screens under your belt, you start to view movement differently.” Later, Stu said he thought the movement screen could be useful in teaching junior people.

Hello, personal trainers! Is this not EXACTLY who most of them are and what they need?


I want to give you another snapshot of my history that includes 10 years of chronic pain. One issue, either a symptom or a contributor and I’ll never know which, was that I never put my right heel on the floor — all the weight on the right side was on the forefoot. Someone who had a good eye for movement might have seen that, and I’m 100% positive the hurdle step screen would have caught it. I’d have been okay on the left and would have fallen over on the right.

There’s a real good chance a competent trainer using the FMS could have used the screen to create a program to fix some or most of my habitual, pain-contributing postures. This could have shaved off years of chronic pain, and later, years of directionless self-imposed corrective exercises.


There are far more personal trainers working with the general public than there are strength coaches working with elite athletes or clinicians working with rehabilitation patients. I’m pretty sure these dedicated trainers would fit nicely into Stu’s definition of junior people, and they could all benefit from learning to view movement differently. This is where I think the FMS works best, and I wish that was where more attention would go. I understand elite athletes are more interesting for researchers to work with, and certainly easier to funnel into studies, but in my opinion that’s not the most important use of the Functional Movement Screen.


Craig Liebenson (Event Promoter), Stuart McGill & Gray Cook


Here’s more on the event — because yes, we did film it.

Gray Cook: It Depends

Phillip Snell: Stanford Review

Dan John: Back from Stanford

Patrick Ward: Assessing Movement with Stuart McGill & Gray Cook

Bobby Maybee: Review from a Chiropractor

Rehab2Performance: Assessing Movement, A Contrast in Approaches & Future Directions

Kasey Esser: My Experience at the Assessing Movement Conference

3 Responses to 'Stanford, with Gray Cook & Stuart McGill'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Stanford, with Gray Cook & Stuart McGill'.

  1. on January 30th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    […] Laree Draper […]

  2. on February 6th, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    […] Laree Draper’s review […]

  3. Ian Rubin said,

    on February 20th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    After 12 years as a Personal Trainer, I couldn’t agree with you more!

Post a comment