Sunday, August 10, 2008

CK-FMS Review - ck-fms: it's about durability

Quick Review of the Certified Kettlebell-Functional Movement Screen (CK-FMS) Workshop/Certification Weekend. First, the CK-FMS is a certification for people who are already certified as RKC kettlebell instructors (review of rkc cert here)

if you care about the people you train, the CK-FMS training provides an excellent toolbox for assessing

  • likelihood of injury
  • whether the problem is mobility or stability based
  • what corrective strategies to use
  • what exercises (especially with KB's) are contra-indicated
  • what moves are green lighted while working on the issues
  • when someone needs to see not you for a particular issue (ie pain) but a specialist for their pain/dysfunction.

The core tool provided, the Functional Movement Screen (FMS, pdf overview here), can predict likelihood of injury and help work the person to a safer place. We learned a new finding in the research: if you have asymmetrical levels of performance in a particular movement pattern (your right side is different than your left), this is the place most likely to lead to injury. How do you find out where you may have either a real weakness or an asymmetry? how much of an asymmetry? Is the dysfunction a mobility or a stability problem? what are the corrective measures for either of those cases? If there are both mobility and stability issues, which gets addressed first? and HOW?

The answers to these core questions are addressed by the FMS and the associated corrective strategies. The goal of the process is not to get everyone to have perfect scores, but to get to a level of being able (a) to pass each screen and then (b) address asymmetries. Cook's own research has shown that rates of injuries are reduced phenomenally simply by getting rid of asymmetries.

. One of the questions many of us have had is: what's special about the ck-fms vs the regular FMS cert, and why should anyone care, either way? There are three distinctions as far as i could tell: the people presenting; the breadth and depth of strategies for treatment covered; the integration of kettlebell moves for feedback on progress and for corrective training.

On the presentation level, having Gray Cook and Brett Jones in the same venue, same time, is in itself a potent combination. I understand this doesn't happen at the regular FMS. Many RKC's have been privileged to work with Brett and know how effective his communication methods are, and how knowledgeable he is. This was my first time hearing Brett in person. Beyond the knowledge, he is also well, what one might call a gentleman: he was humorous about his own dysfunction and the willing butt of many of Gray's remarks. That's impressive for someone who i'd only seen in various serious presentations on DVD or in Feats of Strength YouTube vids.

For those who haven't encountered Gray Cook before, Rif in a forum post more or less said his encyclopedic knowledge of his area, combined with an awesome ability to communicate those concepts for all puts him up there with Pavel, and that's for sure. Cook has a solid research background, authoring chapters in medical textbooks, but works in the real world, and with very real athletes where real large sums of money are at stake. And yet he, too, is a real person. Very approachable, with an obvious respect for the RKC. This is the guy who got KB's into the NFL.

On the curriculum level, this cert goes beyond the regular FMS in terms of incorporating more work with more corrective strategies, based on Brett Jones's and Gray Cook's Secrets Of DVD series, like their Secrets of the Shoulder. It's also introduced new work no one else has seen yet called "primitive patterns" for yet more help in working on dysfunction and asymmetry. But best of all, within all this, there *is* a focus on how KB's are a great tool for working with to improve not only our fitness, but what Gray and Brett call our "durability"

For instance, we looked at the revised Turkish Get Up as both a confirmation of improvement and as a complementary diagnostic tool. If you're not sure what the Revised TGU is, it's what's being taught at the RKC Certs now. The bottom's up version is shown by Dr. Mark Cheng on this YouTube vid. I've done a brief description of it elsewhere, and an illustrated version of same here. Expect a new Jones/Gray DVD on *just* the TGU to explore *why* this is such a powerful move soon.

We've looked at the deadlift and presses in the same way: both as corrective strategies and to note progress or issues that correlate with the screen.

KB Go/No Go. From the cert, we also now have a tested checklist of, based on where a person is at, what things are NOT good to do - and can you believe it? there are certain things that would mean that the swing we all take to be so basic should not be done - better to go do pistol work till that issue is addressed.

Do you know when a swing is contra indicated? And if so, until when? or how to get it back safely onto the exercise stack?

We're not talking about pain here, where some pain takes us out of action because we can't more our arms or stand up. We're talking about movement patterns, and what asymmetries in those patterns, or dysfunctions in those patterns mean such that a particular kb move needs to be set aside until those patterns are corrected.

Every one of us worked through corrective strategies that had demonstrable appreciable translatable benefits to our core KB work. There was not one person who did not have *something* to address: to correct an asymmetry, improve a weakness or build on a strength. There was likewise no one who, after working through corrective strategies for our particular "weakest link," did not see improved performance. It's because everyone had *something* to address that i can't imagine doing RKC work - or guiding any training activity - without doing this assessment first.

It's basic, isn't it? Before we train someone we want to check out if they can do what we'd like to see them doing; what they'd like to be doing. What's the best tool we usually have at our disposal right now? Did your dr. say you could train? do you have any previous injuries? and then what? The approaches taught in this cert give us a huge, fool-proof leap forward in providing objective assurance both to ourselves and our clients that (a) we're not putting them at risk and (b) we're really helping them move more effectively to perform better.

I will be doing Z health in the fall, and i look forward to learning more about how that is not only a great CNS calming and enhancing tool, but also an assessment measure. But right now, i am profoundly excited about having this screen that is bullet proof to use with the folks with whom i work to be able to help their performance immediately - helping to keep them safe and, based on that, helping to get them strong, more effective, and, the word for the weekend, durable as opposed to just fit.

[Z UPDATE FALL 08] well yes, i did the z health level 1 cert. It was awesome and i've written about it in several places: here's a discussion of z heath in general and r phase in particular (the first z program), a review of that certification, and some notes about why a z workshop that covers all flavours of z would be worthwhile to whom. I'm still exploring the relationship between z and the fms.

symmetry symmetry symmetry you can't chop down a symmetry
line from a jane sibery song "dancing class" on "no borders here"
in the context of the FMS which uses chopping moves to address asymetries that could be a theme tune.

Addenda/Side Thoughts
1. Not Yet a CK-FMS
No one of our group is yet a CK-FMS certified screener. To get to that place, we have to do about 50 screens over the coming weeks and months to prep for an online test on our proficiency with the screen.

after passing the test, we are cleared to submit a video-based case study for review which looks at the screen we do, the corrective strategies we use to address the weakest link issue, the retests we perform, the process to lock in the new pattern.

Only after this material is assessed satisfactory, will we be awarded the ck-fms.

[Update Fall 08] - well one person has so far completed the ck-fms. As for myself, i'm now FMS certified - that means i'm a Certified Functional Movement Specialist, listed on the FMS site in this capacity, UK listings. That's phase one complete. Phase two: the case study for ck-fms clearance

[UPDATE DEC 23 2008] Just learned i've passed all the requirements now for the CK-FMS certification; should be listed on the web site as such shortly. Ya hoo. Really cool getting to interact with Brett Jones on the case study.

2. For the RKC
It's pretty clear that the the folks involved in the RKC cert will be thinking about how to fit in some kind of FMS work into or around the RKC. There's a nice chicken and egg challenge: to do the CK-FMS, you need to be an RKC - which makes sense since you need to know these moves and how to teach them. BUT, since these folks obviously care about ensuring well being in those who use KB's, how integrate the FMS for new RKC's to be able to prescribe the best KB routines for optimal effectiveness, rather than adding fitness to dysfunction, as Cook puts it?

[Update Fall 08] The FMS intro that used to be part of the RKC II cert is now gone. The CK-FMS cert (based on feedback during that cert) is now four days instead of three (good plan, stan). Whether the RKC'ers-to-be at the Level 1 cert will be pointed at the CK-FMS course as an important follow on is not clear at the moment - that's harder to see without access to any revised RKC curriculum material.

[related new article] TGU as diagnostic? Whither the FMS?

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