Perhaps best known for his hand in creating the Functional Movement System (FMS), Gray Cook has had a number of influential roles in his career. When major injuries sidetracked a promising football career, Gray focused his attention on the world of strength and fitness, earning an undergrad degree in sports medicine and exercise science before pursuing his Physical Therapy degree. He also gathered certification as a certified strength coach while in PT school. Along the way, he has functioned as consultant for the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL, and joined the advisory board of Titleist Performance Institute (TPI).
Gray began work on the FMS with Lee Burton, PT in 1995 with a desire to create a way of assessing movement quality rather than quantity. Orthopedic evaluations had traditionally used mobility measurements with goniometers and inclinometers to diagnose and guide treatment. The FMS took a bold risk in attempting to standardize the subjective elements of movement analysis. They were successful in proving in subsequent studies that the FMS was a valid and reliable instrument for measuring movement quality. That is, they proved that it measured what it purported to measure and the instrument was teachable to others so that they could use it with very little difference between the users. Later they started work to determine whether the FMS might be used a tool to predict injury in certain populations. This was a watershed moment, as no biometric marker to predict injury existed prior to this. In their work with pro football, firefighters and military, the FMS has been shown to be able to predict future injury.
Another major contribution from Gray has been the placement of the FMS in the hands of non-clinicians, primarily personal trainers and coaches, enabling them to better liase with their clinical compatriots. For the first time, trainers and coaches could speak a common language with physical therapists, chiropractors and other physical medicine practitioners in the co-management of patients and clients. This real-world solution, allowed trainers to identify risk of injury, and refer appropriately when pain was present in their clients. Clinicians, in turn, could have reliable trainers to hand their rehabbed patients to without fear of re-injury.
Cook’s methods are in-line with many other pioneers of the Rehab Renaissance in the belief that thorough assessment of movement should take place before treatment begins. Gray’s corrective exercises for deficits noted in the FMS are all represented on MyRehabExercise.com, including a few below. These videos are tutorials in language suitable for patients and clients. To view that library, members of MyRehabExercise.com may search “FMS” on the video page to see all of them and send custom Rx to your patients.
Gray is also the author of several excellent books and DVDs which may be found below.