Category: Applied Functional Science

When it comes to movement, when it comes to assessment, when it comes to progression, we have three questions for you to consider as a Movement Professional. These same three questions also need to be answered through the lens of a Patient / Client. Here are those three questions:

  • Do you desire success or failure as the outcome?
  • Do you desire an internal locus of control or an external locus of control throughout the process?
  • Do you desire relevant movements that carryover to everyday life or irrelevant movements that have little-to-no carryover?

If you are like us, the questions (all favoring the former options versus the latter) seem obvious. However, one more question needs to be asked / addressed:

  • Do our movements, our assessments, our progressions follow these answers or is there a gap, a disconnect?

As this specific blog series – Functional Movement Spectrum Series – comes to a close, this final entry may, in fact, be the most important of them all. Why? It discusses Behavioral Principles that should guide our movements, our assessments, our progressions.  In clear and simple terms, this is how we connect with our patients / clients and enhance their lives greater.

In this blog entry, we take a deep dive into the Functional Movement Spectrum. Specifically, we focus on Encouragement, Empowerment, and Engagement, which are included as principles / truths in the Behavioral Sciences. In “The Introduction” to this Functional Movement Spectrum Series, we identified the following descriptors for Encouragement: Success (functional) vs. Failure (non-functional); Empowerment: Internal Locus of Control (functional) vs. External Locus of Control (non-functional); and Engagement: Relevant (functional) vs. Irrelevant (non-functional).

The ultimate goal of rehabilitation and / or training programs is to help the patient / client function better. Therefore, we desire our programs to be “functional.” We all have a tendency to forget the behavioral drivers that facilitate the physical function of humans. These drivers are critically important and that is why they are part of the Functional Movement Spectrum. 

The creation of the Functional Movement Spectrum by Gray Institute® was in response to questions and challenges regarding whether any specific exercise or movement was functional. It continues to serve all of us in the movement professions very well in this regard. It serves an even more important function. It guides us in designing exercises, movements, and programs that are more functional. Once these programs are designed, the Principles in the Functional Movement Spectrum “suggest” to us tweaks that can be used to adjust for individual differences and unexpected barriers to progress. 

If the behavioral drivers are truly Principles, then they should inform our strategies, as well as direct our program design and program adjustments. Starting with and building upon existing success will provide Encouragement. Allowing the patients / clients to make decisions about the progression of their programs will facilitate an internal locus of control leading to Empowerment. Programs that consist of movements that are relevant to the patient’s / client’s activities and / or sports will foster Engagement.

At Gray Institute® there is a saying: “Success begets success!” Initial assessment that includes global movements, like those found in 3DMAPS® (3D Movement Analysis & Performance System), allow for the identification of movement deficits but also highlight the individual’s movement successes that serve as the starting point of any program. The Performance System of 3DMAPS® offers 14 options (emphasizing mobility and stability) to follow as a “road map” for program progression. Allowing individuals to provide feedback about their preferred sequence provides the Empowerment that solidifies their Encouragement. Once the individual’s general movement abilities have been enhanced in all three planes with emphasis on loading into and exploding out of the Transformational Zone, continued Engagement in the program is maximized by creating movements that have Transformational Zones that are relevant to the activities that the individual identified as important to him / her. Combining any of the single plane movements in the 3DMAPS® Performance System will create the desired activity-specific, three-dimensional movements.

Any of the three behavioral drivers included in the Functional Movement Spectrum feeds the other two, creating a dynamic spiral of success. This spiral of success surrounds the physical movements of any program, guiding while expanding function.


(Learn more and get 3DMAPS® certified by clicking on

Principled Strategies: Integration – Vlog
Functional Movement Spectrum Series: Encouragement, Empowerment, & Engagement – Vlog Part 1

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