Join our FaceBook Group to receive tips and resources on fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle.

Why Movement Screens Tell Me Everything About You

by Coach Tommy

I am a big history buff!

I enjoy watching shows that relate to ancient history, US history, general World History (I am fascinated by World War II)…you get the picture.

Whenever I watch shows about ancient civilizations, it always reminds me of the movement screens we do at District H.


Archaeologists can typically tell a lot about how early ancestors lived by uncovering artifacts or even examining bones found at burial sites.

It provides a glimpse into how our ancestors lived, what they ate, how big they were, the technology they used, their tribal rituals, etc.

It allows us to travel back in time.

Similarly, whenever a new member comes to District H, I get a glimpse of their exercise history, what they do for work, and their general activity level by just looking at the quality of their movement.

I can’t tell you how many times new members come in with rounded shoulders and tight hips from sitting at a desk all day.

Why is this important?

We believe that functional movements should be the foundation of anyone’s general workout routine. This includes squat, hip hinge, lunge, upper body pulling exercises, upper body pushing exercises, and core work.

By focusing on these six primal movements, our members will have better function in their overall life.

But before we can start to train, build motor control, build strength, and build consistency in these movements, we have to understand where we are beginning.

The eight movements screens that I typically implement with brand new members are the following:

  • Shoulder Scratch Test
  • Air Squat (Body Weight Squat)
  • Body Weight Lunge
  • Toe Touch
  • Active Straight Leg Raise
  • Front Plank
  • Reverse Plank
  • Side Plank

These tests allow me to see seven critical aspects about you as an individual:

  • Mobility Restrictions
  • Strength Level
  • Motor Control
  • Postural Alignment
  • Balance/Coordination
  • Asymmetries Between your Left and Right Side
  • Potential Risk Areas for Injury

From this assessment, we can prescribe a protocol of exercise, myofascial release/stretching, and physical therapy that will accommodate your current limitations and put you on a path to long-term sustainable fitness in a safe manner.

For example, suppose you are a client with rounded shoulders and tight hips from sitting at a desk all day. In that case, I will see a minimal range of motion in the shoulder during the scratch test, toe touch, and active straight leg exercises.

During the air squat, your torso is going to dip forward to accommodate the limited range of motion you have in your hips and ankles.

Suppose I just decided to throw you into a Monday group class, where we typically squat and I load your spine. In that case, I am already opening you to the risk of injury.

On the other hand, if I understand these limitations from the beginning, I can give you homework to do to help you start increasing your mobility. I would also recommend working 1-on-1 with our in-house physical therapist, Dr. Dustin Ma. Lastly,  I would give you personalized guidance during On-Ramp that allows you to train our six primal movements but not put you in a position for potential injury.

We take pride in taking care of our members. Like I said before, we aren’t here to just facilitate fitness. We want to see you succeed and be the very best version of yourself.

That means taking the time to have conversations with our clients to understand their goals and reviewing their current movement patterns so we can prescribe protocols that can set you up for long-term success.

Tomorrow, I will discuss what happens during our nutrition consultations so that you can start to put the pieces together of how we can provide you the ultimate game plan to get your health and wellness goals.

If you are ready to get started with your FREE 1-on-1 initial consultation, feel free to book an appointment using the link below.

Have a great Wednesday!



Start here

Book a free intro today so we can learn all about you, your goals and how we can help you reach them
Free Intro