Fundamental movement skills are the building blocks of all our physical activities. Most people develop these skills as children, preparing them for a lifetime of fluid, subconscious movement. However, when these skills are disrupted or mechanically flawed, whether as a result of an injury or personal idiosyncrasy, it can create chain reactions of pain, discomfort, and frustration throughout the body.  

In this blog, the Gray Institute® team outlines the basics of fundamental movement skills, and what personal trainers need to know about integrating them into their practices. 

What Are Fundamental Movement Skills? 

Our fundamental movement skills underpin everything we do. Throughout your professional training, you probably were taught to consider and analyze movements, like a lunge, in a vacuum. At Gray Institute, we believe in a holistic approach to human movement. For more than 40 years, we’ve taught movement professionals how to grasp the truths of Applied Functional Science® – empowering them and improving their clients’ and patients’ lives. 

Before you can focus on your clients’ more specialized skills, you need to understand their global or fundamental movement skills. For example, an 80-year-old individual who is recovering from a hip replacement will have very different global movements than an 18-year-old athlete who wants to improve their agility. 

Breaking Our Fundamental Movement Skills Into 8 Specific Movement Patterns 

Therefore, it’s essential to understand fundamental movement skills and how they act as building blocks for other movements. The truths of Applied Functional Science teach us that eight specific fundamental movement patterns influence how we perform our daily activities. They are: 

  • Lunging 
  • Squatting 
  • Jumping 
  • Reaching 
  • Lifting 
  • Pushing 
  • Pulling 
  • Walking 

These global skills and their effect on our whole body’s movement are at the core of our Applied Functional Science techniques, and the key to providing effective training and treatment. If you’re interested in learning more about how these principles can enhance your personal training practice, earning your Certification in Applied Functional Science may be the next step. 

Applied Functional Science Is the Key to Effective Training 

Since the 1970s, Dr. Gary Gray has been advocating for personalized, intuitive training for movement professionals. As a pioneer in the field, Gary realized that variety is the spice of movement, and when you prioritize the process over the protocol, trainers and therapists alike achieve better results. These strategies are not taught in conventional personal training courses, despite how time and time again, they’ve proven to be the key to achieving better results.  

When you need to take your training to the next level, it’s time to consider investing in Applied Functional Science education. Our Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS) offering is the perfect introduction for personal trainers who want to take their observation and implementation skills to the next level and get better results for their clients. Our online course is self-paced, so you can take the time you need to invest in the education you deserve.  

Train Your Clients in All 3 Planes of Motion 

For personal trainers interested in helping their clients achieve effective, lasting results, it’s critical to understand how the body performs fundamental movement skills in all three planes of motion — sagittal (forward and backward), frontal (side to side), and transverse (rotation).  

A simple lunge or squat performed in only one plane of motion is not authentic to how the body really moves. Following the principles of Applied Functional Science, you should consider and successfully embed how the body moves in all three planes while lunging, squatting, or performing other movements.  

For example, traditional theory says there is one way to squat – with our feet side-by-side, shoulder-width apart, with our toes pointing forward. However, that’s rarely how we perform a squat in real life. In addition to a neutral position, there are six other foot positions used while squatting: 

  • Right foot forward 
  • Left foot forward 
  • Wider stance 
  • Narrower stance 
  • Toes pointing inward 
  • Toes pointing outward 

Each of these positions engages different chain reactions that can help your clients find new pathways to movement or help them build tone and strength through unaccustomed stimulus. 

RELATED: Simplexity” and Certification in Applied Functional Science 

Elevate Your Personal Training With Gray Institute 

At Gray Institute, we’re proud of our legacy of empowering practitioners like you with the education they need to provide world-class care. To learn more about furthering your education with Gray Institute through our Certification in Applied Functional Science, please feel free to download our brochure, or fill out our simple online contact form

We look forward to hearing from you!