What are the Effects of Personal Body Armour on Functional Movement Capability?

Research Paper Title

Effects of Personal Body Armor on Functional Movement Capability.


The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a tool used to assess fundamental movement patterns and has been utilised to determine movement readiness of tactical athletes.

However, tactical athletes rarely perform tasks without load carriage, and limited research evaluating loaded tactical personnel via the FMS has been conducted.

Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to determine if ballistic vest wear results in movement deficits as evaluated by the FMS.


A convenience sample of college students (n = 31) completed test sessions in loaded and unloaded conditions. Subjects completed each FMS movement and indicated perceived effort on a Visual Analog Scale (VAS).

The Sign test was used to determine difference between FMS composite and component scores collected under each condition.

The level of significance was set at p < 0.05. A significant (p < 0.001) difference in FMS composite scores was identified between loading conditions.


Significant FMS score changes between load conditions were identified in the dominant side in-line lunge (p < 0.01), non-dominant side in-line lunge (p < 0.01), dominant shoulder mobility (p < 0.01), non-dominant shoulder mobility (p < 0.01), and non-dominant rotary stability (p = 0.01).

The data indicate ballistic vest wear reduces overall functional movement capacity, as well as mobility related to certain individual FMS components in the population examined.

Additionally, results suggest subjects may better tolerate additional load carriage when completing tasks on their dominant side.


These results raise important questions regarding design, fit, and task completion for tactical athletes utilising a ballistic vest.


Tomes, C.D. & Lewis, M.D. (2019) Effects of Personal Body Armor on Functional Movement Capability. International Journal of Exercise Science. 12(6), pp.536-546. eCollection 2019.


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