The Performance Matrix

Low demand activities only not enough for Movement Screens

27th October 2013

This paper supports the need to have both low threshold movement control test for alignment and co-ordination and high threshold movement control tests for strength and speed. It is not simply a case of progressing from low threshold retraining to high but assessing the movement faults of the individual and designing a specific training package.

Mark Comerford is in London this weekend teaching therapists and movement coaches to do just that!

The influence of load and speed on individuals' movement behavior

Frost, David M; Beach, Tyson AC; Callaghan, Jack P; McGill, Stuart M

Published Ahead-of-Print 11 October 2013

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:


Because individuals' movement patterns have been linked to their risk of future injury, movement evaluations have become a topic of interest. However, if individuals adapt their movement behavior in response to the demands of a task, the utility of evaluations comprising only low demand activities could have limited application with regards to the prediction of future injury. This investigation examined the impact of load and speed on individuals' movement behavior. Fifty-two firefighters performed five low-demand (i.e. light load, low movement speed) whole-body tasks (i.e. lift, squat, lunge, push, pull). Each task was then modified by increasing the speed, external load, or speed and load. Select measures of motion were used to characterize the performance of each task and comparisons were made between conditions. Participants adapted their movement behavior in response to the external demands of a task (64% and 70% of all variables were influenced (p<0.05) by changing the load and speed, respectively), but in a manner unique to the task and type of demand. Participants exhibited greater spine and frontal plane knee motion in response to an increase in speed when compared to increasing loads. However, there were a large number of movement strategies exhibited by individual firefighters that differed from the group's response. The data obtained here imply that individuals may not be physically prepared to perform safely or effectively when a task's demands are elevated simply because they exhibit the ability to perform a low-demand activity with competence. Therefore, movement screens comprising only low demand activities may not adequately reflect an individual's capacity, or their risk of injury, and could adversely affect any recommendations that are made for training or job performance.

Join the TPM PRO network
Watch the Video & Find out More
Join the TPM ACTIVE network