In the gym with Amoo and Noble
Functional movement screening has been a regular feature during pre-season, and beyond, here at Brunton Park but, if we're being honest, those of us away from the playing side of things have never really had a grasp of what it entails.
Liam Noble and David Amoo were the latest to be put through their paces in the gym here at Brunton Park, so we caught up with physio Neil Dalton for an explanation of what had just taken place.
"With new players we obviously don't have any kind of record to tell us about their range of movement or how their bodies react to certain things," he said. "The tests are designed to help us to ascertain that.
"We also do the tests with players who have been here a while so that we can see if they've improved, or otherwise, in a particular area. The process takes a while to complete but we make sure we’ve looked at every player before we get to the end of pre-season.
"The first part of the test is on functional movement. They do a series of exercises and stretches to test their movement and symmetry, which includes squats and lunges, along with specific practices to test the range of movement in their arms and their hamstrings.
"We watch all of the exercises closely to see whether they tend to dip to one side or rotate during a certain exercise, for example. Basically we’re looking for the quality in the movements they undertake."
"If there is any sign of asymmetry, or a specific weakness, we have to look at the reason for that being the case," he explained. "If it's because a certain muscle is weak, or the area doesn't have good range of movement, then we'll focus the programme we give them on making that area stronger.
"It can sometimes simply come down to the fact that they aren't used to using that muscle or joint in the way we ask them to. In that case the remedy is to work that specific area to make sure it doesn't cause them a problem in the future."
"The basic principle behind it all is that we are trying to prevent injuries," he said. "We'll take the information we gather to produce an individual programme. After that it's up to them to complete it in their own time. It usually takes about 20 minutes each day and most of the exercises can be done at home.
"If we can increase the range of movement in a specific area, or make a certain muscle stronger, then it helps to stop other muscles from having to overwork. This, in turn, should mean that we see a reduction in the number and frequency of muscle and range of movement related injuries.
"We'll never be able to prevent every injury, that just isn't possible, but this sort of thing does help to prevent muscular strains and back problems. What we want to do is give everybody the best chance of getting through the season injury free.
"Kate [Gascoigne] did the tests with all of the youth players and most of the first team have been through the process already. Like I say, from here it's over to the individual to work on the recommendations we give them by completing the programme as often as they can."
to go to a gallery of images as David Amoo and Liam Noble go through their paces.