My Review of ‘Movement: Functional Movement Systems’ by Gray Cook

October 26, 2010

A Real World review of Movement: Functional Movement Systems
Screening, Assessments & Corrective Strategies
by Gray Cook
with Lee Burton, Kyle Kiesel, Greg Rose & Milo F. Bryant

How does one go about writing a review of a Gray Cook book? I mean really, where do you even start? I have read the book about ten times by now and still wondered where to begin. Staring at a blank page, I kept thinking about the monstrous task of doing it justice. There is so much knowledge packed into these pages it boggles the mind. So I decided to do something a bit different and give you a perspective of this book and how it has changed the way I practice medicine. The application of the principles contained in this book has changed the lives of many people. The real world people I see every day in my clinic. People who have suffered in pain for years now have their quality of life restored because of the applied principles in this book.

‘Movement’ was a paradigm shift for me as a clinician. Gray opened my eyes to the wonders of human movement and the systems necessary to understanding it. This was the system I had been searching for in determining why people were getting injured, and why their pain syndromes kept returning. People would ask me, ‘why does my pain keep coming back?’, and I never had an answer that made sense to me. That is until I discovered Movement. Here is a summary of my journey through ‘Movement.’

This introductory chapter sets the stage for the paradigm shift. It’s an awakening to understanding human movement. The section on dysfunction, pain and rehabilitation is something to read a hundred times. The mobility and stability rules are powerful enough to change the clinical outcome of almost every client. I never learned this stuff in school. This one chapter taught me more than I had learned reading entire textbooks. Gotta look at the body as a whole. Imagine that?

In school I learned anatomy, physiology, origins, insertions, and disease processes. Nobody talked about movement. Gray does a nice job transitioning the reader from understanding how the body changes from anatomical function to movement function. The Functional Movement Systems are taught from the FMS (Functional Movement Screen) to the SFMA (Selective Functional Movement Assessment). From a clinical standpoint I can say this is the most superior and effective system I have found to evaluate clients. Gray teaches you the screening process, assessment criteria and a system of correction to arrive at your final destination.

There is something of value in this book no matter who you are; doctor, trainer, strength coach, physical therapist, chiropractor, exercise enthusiast or just someone wanting to learn more about getting healthy. The stages of assessments, correction and strategies are outlined so you know when and if your program is working to the benefit of your client. Every patient who entrusts me with getting them well is evaluated by the ‘Movement System’. I no longer simply examine the areas that hurt on a patient. I look at how well they move. When I get them to move smarter and move better, they begin to feel better.

The flow of the book is great at introducing you to understanding movement and then guiding you to the corrective strategies. Many books are good at teaching information, yet fall flat at the integration of that information into action steps. Gray gives you a flow chart system of ideas and principles which help you arrive at your final destination…it is a veritable list of ‘if this; then that.’ So you are never at a loss of ultimately learning what you need in order to get the results you want. As a clinician, this is a goldmine of logic and integration. Most people fail in their quest for health because there is not a definable system to follow for success. A roadmap if you will. ‘Movement’ will be your GPS.

I can say unequivocally that ‘Movement’ has been the single most powerful resource to change and improve my skills as a health professional. I learned the material, absorbed the principles, and applied the methods to get results. Simple really. A heartfelt thank you to Gray from myself and my patient’s.

Perry Nickelston, DC, FMS, SFMA