A Guide to Effective Movement Assessments

Whether you are a serious athlete, a recreational weightlifter, or trying to get in shape for the first time, one common goal is shared: you want to maximize your workouts and stay injury-free. 

This goal is where a movement assessment can come in and help begin to get an idea of where you need to start to reach your optimal wellness. It’s vital to understand what a movement assessment is, what the assessment process entails, and how you can benefit from a movement assessment to meet your goals for optimal wellness. 

What is a Movement Assessment?

Movement assessment is the practice of analyzing movement performance during functional tasks to determine the kinematics of your joints and their effect on the kinetic chain. Three-dimensional or two-dimensional analysis of your biomechanics involved in sporting tasks can assist in the prevention of injury and enhance your athletic performance. 

Identifying your abnormal movements can provide your movement therapists with the ability to prescribe more accurate corrective exercise programs to prevent injury and improve exercise rehabilitation. A movement assessment can also help track the progression following an injury and assist in determining readiness to return to your activities.

A movement assessment can help you achieve many movement goals and overall wellness goals. Some of the significant goals you can reach with an assessment include: 

  • Building muscles
  • Increasing strength
  • Getting toned
  • Losing weight/fat
  • Becoming healthier
  • Increase flexibility

These types of assessments can be very beneficial in helping you reach your fitness and performance goals. Preexisting muscle imbalances, however, can lead to injuries or hinder your performance. A movement assessment by a professional mobility therapist can help evaluate your movement patterns and teach you to retrain your muscles to be more efficient, and help you become stronger and healthier. 

Understanding the Movement Assessment Process

Movement assessments should follow a process. This process will help your movement professional obtain the most usable amount of information possible with minimal risk in the shortest amount of time. 

1. Client Intake

The first step of a movement assessment is to interview you to discover your goals and objectives for the assessment. This step is essential because if your primary goal is to get up off the couch and take a short walk every day, there may be a different exercise routine created compared to an individual that is needed an assessment for an injury.

2. Static Postural Assessment

The Static Postural Assessment is a snapshot of posture without movement. This movement assessment includes the foot and ankle, knee, LPHC, shoulders and thoracic spine, and head and neck. By critically observing your static posture, a movement specialist can have an excellent idea of muscles that need flexibility and muscles that need strengthening. 

3. Overhead Squat Assessment

The overhead squat assessment is our first authentic look at your movement. It shows how well you can control your movement, average range of motion, stability, and coordination. With heels elevated and hands-on-hip modifications, this assessment can serve as valuable windows into the client’s overall movement health.  If you cannot squat, it may not indicate a musculoskeletal issue waiting to happen, and a therapist can implement a plan to prevent future injury.

4. Loaded Assessments

Loaded assessments involve loaded movements that observe your primary movement patterns — such as push, pull, hinge, squat, and lunges. The breakdown in your form and the introduction to movement compensations with weight might indicate a lack of strength and coordination instead of overactive or underactive muscles.

5. Dynamic Assessments

A dynamic assessment is for more advanced movement analysis geared towards performance-related fitness metrics. This assessment has higher control, coordination, and stability levels than those with performance-related goals. 

6. Personalized Mobility Exercise 

Movement assessments provide a wide range of data required to build an individualized program to fit your needs. Once a professional has completed several movement assessments on your body, they will create a personalized program to help you meet your overall movement goals. 

7. Analyze and Improve 

Your overall assessment establishes baseline criteria for you around your preferred strategy to accomplish movement tasks. Having objective baseline information is essential when working to improve over time. Recording and analyzing your movement program can give insight into how you have improved or changed your mobility over time.

How Can You Benefit from a Movement Assessment?

A significant benefit of an assessment is getting a mobility coach that sends their client mobility activities to do overtime. A movement assessment builds trust and credibility. This assessment starts your coach-client relationship the right way. A mobility therapist cares about your well-being and shows professionalism when working with you to reach your health and wellness goals. 

The assessment will prepare a specific training plan for your fitness journey. Your mobility training can tailor to your specific needs and help improve the areas they are having trouble with through your movement assessment. After the assessment, a specialist will pinpoint these areas for you, and your movement therapist can devise a mobility training routine around those areas to target them appropriately and avoid further injury.

The movement assessment will also create a good mark for a baseline that you can use later on to track how much you have improved since the start of your movement journey. Once you have the starting point, you can easily compare it to the results later. This record is vital for constant improvement and helps your therapist assess what you need to work on next. 

One of the most important benefits is that you will be able to prevent any injuries when you do a proper movement assessment with a trained professional. Your limitations will become apparent during your assessment. This step can help your therapist build an entire workout routine that can be crafted in a way to slowly improve the areas of your body with weakness without the risk of an injury. 

An assessment will also allow for a slow progressive training routine that you can follow without much effort. This step can be essential, primarily if you use the assessment to help recover from an injury. Your assessment will ensure that you do the right exercise in proper form, and it will also help with the mechanics of your exercises. Your movement assessment will help your therapist plan corrective exercises for the areas that are not functioning their best. Once you know them, an exercise routine can be created based on your assessment to improve these areas. Your movement assessment will identify them so you can properly focus on those minimizing the chance of injury.

Start Your Movement Journey with an Optimal Movement Assessment

Muscle stiffness, body pains, posture issues, and injuries can all occur for multiple reasons. Still, movement therapy can be a step in the right direction to more significant movement and optimal wellness. Our Boulder and Longmont mobility therapists can help you find a better range of motion by starting with a movement assessment. 

At Optimal Wellness, our Optimal Movement Assessment is used to identify imbalances and asymmetries which could result in injury. Your movement specialist can begin to create a customized program specific to your body’s needs to begin optimizing health.

Book Your Optimal Movement Assessment in Boulder or Longmont Today

Learn more about the benefits of mobility therapy and other massage services to promote overall wellness at our two Colorado locations in Boulder and Longmont. At Optimal Wellness, we offer various wellness services to help you perform at your best and improve your quality of life. Learn more about our mobility services on our website or book your appointment with our skilled Colorado massage therapist to get on the road to optimal wellness.