Population-Specific Norms: Common Clinical Movement Screens & Military Recruitment

Research Paper Title

The Interrelationship of Common Clinical Movement Screens: Establishing Population-Specific Norms in a Large Cohort of Military Applicants.


Musculoskeletal injuries (MSK-Is) are a leading cause of missed duty time and morbidity in the military. Modifiable risk factors for MSK-Is, such as inadequate core stability, poor movement patterns, and dynamic balance deficits, have not been identified in military applicants on entering service.

The objective of this research was to establish normative functional movement data using a series of screens in military applicants entering basic training and explore relationships among several movement tests.


A cross-sectional study undertaken at a Military Entrance Processing Station.

A total of 1714 (1434 male, 280 female) military applicants entering the US Army (n = 546), Navy (n = 414), Air Force (n = 229), or Marine Corps (n = 525).

The researchers conducted the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), Y-Balance Test (YBT), overhead squat (OHS), and Landing Error Scoring System (LESS). Movements were assessed using the scoring convention for each screen. The FMS, YBT, OHS, and LESS scores and associations among the movement screens as well as clinical meaningfulness.


A total of 1037 of the 1714 enrolled applicants were screened on the day they left for basic training. Normative means for this population were established: FMS = 14.7 ± 1.8, YBT anterior reach difference = 3.1 ± 3.0 cm, mean YBT composite differences = 8.0 ± 6.8 cm, mean YBT composite percentage = 90.9% ± 8.3%, OHS errors = 5.0 ± 2.8, and LESS score = 5.7 ± 2.1. Backward regression results revealed that the YBT composite percentage was related to the FMS and OHS scores in males and to the FMS, OHS, and LESS results in females. However, clinical meaningfulness was limited to the YBT composite percentage, OHS errors, and LESS score in both males and females.


Sex-normative values for the FMS, YBT, OHS, and LESS screens were established for US military applicants, and some overlapped in the assessments. Overall, males performed better on the OHS and LESS and achieved a greater YBT composite percentage than females. The regression results revealed movement screen performance relationships that varied by sex and clinical meaningfulness. In future studies, the researchers state they will determine if performance on any of the screens is associated with MSK-Is in basic trainees.


de la Motte, S.J., Gribbin, T.C., Lisman, P., Beutler, A.I. & Deuster, P. (2016) The Interrelationship of Common Clinical Movement Screens: Establishing Population-Specific Norms in a Large Cohort of Military Applicants. Journal of Athletic Training. 2016 Nov 10. [Epub ahead of print].


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