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Dave Johnson spreading the word about Functional Movement Screenings

WESTERN SPRINGS – There is a remedy for ACL tears, knee tendinitis, shoulder problems and bad backs.

And Dave Johnson believes the fix doesn’t always include going under the knife.

The certified athletic trainer and owner of Extreme Fitness Results is a proponent of Functional Movement Screening, a simple series of seven physical movements that can help pinpoint potential problem areas ripe for injury. The FMS itself doesn’t require any expensive machinery. A plastic plank on the floor and three plastic rods is all that is needed. The screening takes less than 15 minutes.

“I think everyone should do a Functional Movement Screening to safely participate in a sport,” said Johnson, who has been the proprietor of Extreme Fitness Results for 14 years.

The Functional Movement Screening was created by physical therapist Gray Cook and is described on the website,, as “a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function.”

The seven exercises in the screening are scored on a scale of zero to three. A score of 14 is a good goal to shoot for, Johnson said.

“Two is average, and we’re happy with average,” Johnson said.

Teams in the National Football League are starting to utilize the FMS for their players, according to Johnson, and he said the screening process is trickling down to college football programs, but it largely remains a mystery.

“I think every coach, every gym teacher should be doing it,” Johnson said. “But word isn’t getting out to the masses.”

His clients come from Lombard, Downers Grove, Batavia and other suburban towns and range in age from teenagers to senior citizens, but young athletes are who Johnson is hoping to help.

One client, a volleyball player at Lyons Township High School, couldn’t raise his arms above his head and couldn’t touch his toes when he first visited Johnson. An elite athlete was struggling with the simplest physical tasks.

“We fixed most of his problems and he ended up having the best vertical jump on his travel team and the second-best at his high school,” Johnson said.

Johnson believes an FMS can detect potential problem areas for athletes and a few simple exercises, such as stretches and kettlebell workouts, are the solution to preventing injury.

Johnson works off a physical fitness pyramid, of which the base is perfecting mobility and stability. In the middle is strength training, and at the top is power, agility and endurance. Johnson said he has had younger clients who were so focused on strength, speed and power that they neglected the base of the pyramid.

Injuries cannot always be avoided, but an FMS and a physical training regimen can help alleviate ailments that athletes encounter. If any areas of the body need to be strengthened, Johnson’s regimen of stretches and kettlebell exercises can help.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You don’t need a treadmill or an elliptical to keep in shape,” Johnson said. “With an FMS and training, we can prevent injury before you need to have surgery and physical therapy.”

Notable clients
• Luke Gregerson, Oakland A's
• Matt Mayberry, college football/NFL
• Dominique Price, college football/NFL
• Caleb TerBush, college football/NFL
• Isaiah Wiggins, college football/NFL

The seven FMS exercises
• Active straight leg raise
• Hurdle step
• In-line lunge
• Rotary stability
• Shoulder mobility
• Squats
• Trunk stability push-up

More info
Extreme Fitness Results
4707 Willow Springs Road, Suite 103

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