Highlights from the Liebenson and Cook Interview

Posted: October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

A few days ago, a new interview was posted on movementlectures.com where Craig Liebenson interviewed Gray Cook. Generally, the discussion involves both the FMS and SFMA, but that is just where it begins.

In short, this is must listen. For my friends in chiropractic school, save your $5 that you would have spent on 5 beers (yes Seneca Falls, NY is the only place in America you can still get $1 beers) and purchase this lecture. It is absolutely fascinating.

As I was listening, I took down a few notes and figured I would post them on the site. Obviously, you would do a huge disservice to yourself by only reading this. Seriously, go listen to it (after reading this, of course).

Like usual, Gray Cook is a one-liner machine as his responses to Dr. Liebenson’s questions are highlighted below.


The FMS is not an evaluation, it’s not an Orthopaedic assessment… if the screen was more complicated, the reliability would plummet.

-1’s and asymmetries are a red flag because they interrupt the primitive reflex stabilization responses.

-Core performance testing (McGill’s side plank hold) vs baseline stability and function (rolling patterns)- the core performance tests are conscious but our stability in everyday life is unconscious.

90% of our core runs of reflex stabilization.

Can test things with isolation (inclinometer, dynamometer) but that is not how you train it. 

-Gyms and many strength and conditioning programs lean on the hypertrophy model (biological structure), but neural changes are first.

-Movement competency or lack therefore of (inappropriate stiffness, abnormal muscle tone) = High threshold strategies (Over-abbing your way through life).

-The most violent contraction occurs following extreme relaxation (think Bruce Lee).

– The SFMA is a consistent way of looking at movement so you can see when something is inconsistent.

– The intention of the SFMA was never to have someone hold the flow chart in practice. You can skip steps but don’t you dare miss one.

 – The FMS is not designed to specifically catch a foot, hand, wrist, or C-spine. The screen gives a provocation, but doesn’t tell you everything.

-SFMA tells us exactly which exercise will reload the system.

-SFMA is the diagnosis at the point where you have managed pain while the FMS is the prognosis. It helps the trainer develop a program to manage the dysfunction.

-Think of the FMS as movement vital signs. It is a baseline, but not the only thing you are going to do.

If you have symmetrical 2’s across the board on the FMS but I can hear you running from a mile away… Maybe its your friggin’ running mechanics!!!

-If you can’t memorize the flexion breakout (SFMA), make your own. It will look the same as ours.

– Without a proper and thorough assessment you are essentially spraying bullets and hoping one works. With a good assessment, you may only need to take one shot.


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