Relationship of the functional movement screen in-line lunge to power, speed, and balance measures

The in-line lunge of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) evaluates lateral stability, balance, and movement asymmetries. Athletes who don’t score well on the in-line lunge should abstain from activities requiring power or speed until scores are improved, yet relationships between the in-line lunge scores and other measures of balance, power, and speed are unknown. The authors predicted lunge scores would correlate with center of pressure (COP), maximum jump height (MJH), and 36.6-meter sprint time and that there would be no differences between limbs on lunge scores, MJH, or COP. Thirty-seven healthy, active participants completed the first 3 tasks of the FMS (eg, deep squat, hurdle step, in-line lunge), unilateral drop jumps, and 36.6-meter sprints. A 3-dimensional motion analysis system captured MJH. Force platforms measured COP excursion. A laser timing system measured 36.6-m sprint time. Statistical analyses were used to determine whether a relationship was present between lunge scores and COP, MJH, and 36.6-m speed (Spearman rho tests) and whether differences existed between limbs in lunge scores (Wilcoxon signed-rank test), MJH, and COP (paired t tests). Lunge scores were not significantly correlated with COP, MJH, or 36.6-m sprint time. Lunge scores, COP excursion, and MJH were not statistically different between limbs. Performance on the FMS in-line lunge was not related to balance, power, or speed. Healthy participants were symmetrical in lunging measures and MJH.

The study concluded that scores on the FMS in-line lunge should not be attributed to power, speed, or balance performance without further examination. However, , making assessment of limb symmetry seems to be clinically relevant.