AUTHOR: Peter Griffin
“The rotary stability test is representative of the first efficient form of locomotion for most humans, the creeping and crawling patterns in early development. These patterns demonstrate the same reciprocal movements of the arms and legs used in climbing, walking, and running.”
– Gray Cook
Many functional activities in sport require the trunk stabilisers to transfer force asymmetrically from the lower extremities to the upper extremities and vice versa. If the trunk does not have adequate reflex stabilisation during these activities, kinetic energy will be dispersed leading to poor performance. With this in mind, limited performance during the rotary stability test can be attributed to many factors including; poor reflex stabilisation of the trunk and core; compromised scapular and hip stability and limited hip, knee, spine and shoulder mobility. Therefore, with the use of the rotary stability test I hypothesised a simple question;
Can we improve the scores of a particular individual in the rotary stability test? Using dynamic motor control/static motor control and strength exercises?
Healthy Female age 37 with no injuries and no considerable reduction in mobility.
The FMS rotary stability test.
Score: 1 (inability to perform a diagonal repetition) (No Pain).
Hip stability was sufficient with a score of 2 on the inline lunge and a score of 3 on the hurdle step was achieved. It was time to check hip mobility with the ASLR and the scapular with the shoulder mobility test. Both tested at a score of 3.
With these results it was time to discuss trunk stability with the client and direct treatment to a HEP consisting of contralateral/ipsilateral trunk stability training.
The training program for this client consisted of:
Suitcase deadlifts – Instructed to perform 2 ×12 repetitions with a 2kg dumbbell. This exercise was to be performed 3/week. Alternative hands were used in this exercise.
Half Turkish get up – Instructed to perform 2 ×12 repetitions with a 2kg dumbbell. This exercise was to be performed 3/week. Alternative hands were used in this exercise.
Quadruped rocks – Instructed to perform 2 ×12 repetitions. This exercise was to be performed 3/week.
Chop and lift from half kneeling – Instructed to perform 2 ×12 repetitions with a 2kg dumbbell. This exercise was to be performed 3/week. Alternative sides were used in this exercise.
Pull from single leg single arm supported – Instructed to perform 2 ×12 repetitions with a 4kg dumbbell. This exercise was to be performed 3/week. Alternative sides were used in this exercise.
Having the client perform these exercises for 4 weeks, results for the FMS rotary stability test improved from a 1 to a 2 overall. A score of 3 was asked to be achieved, however unilateral dynamic motor control and strength still needs to be improved.
A paper by Keisel et. al showed that The FMS can be a reliable predictor of football players likelihood of injury based on their ability to perform foundational movements in an unrestricted manner. However, it is not clear as to whether the rotary stability test can be a predictor of injury or poor performance set out in its isolation. To be performed correctly, you not only need good mobility from the scapular and the hips but you also need a good level on coordination. And that is not all that is addressed in the test as it requires a neurologically adapted pattern that should have been adopted when we were infants. And I think for all of us, or the majority of us it was developed as an infant. But somewhere during our lifetime we have lost what is required to complete this test to a competent level (Including myself).
For me, it is a necessity for us to function and perform well in our daily activities and the rotary stability test is a test that can give us a clear indication of trunk stability, or our ability to either perform movements in an ipsilateral movement pattern like rolling, throwing, learning in most agility exercises and some sitting. And contralateral; crawling, running, walking and reaching.
Charlie Weingroff, Physical therapist, personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach.
Kiesel, K., Plisky, & Butler, R. (2009). Functional movement test scores improve following a standardized off-season intervention program in professional football players. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport. 21 (2), 287-292.