Flexibility Tests

Everything You Need To Know About Flexibility Tests | Orthopaedics


Flexibility tests assess the ability of muscles and joints to move easily through their full range of motion.

Purpose of flexibility tests

Joint conditions such as arthritis, tight muscles, or other problems with the muscles and connective tissue around the joints limit flexibility. Flexibility tests are used to diagnose conditions such as muscle imbalance, arthritis in the joint, or a shoulder sprain or obstruction. They are also used to identify tight muscle groups that can lead to injury during daily activities or exercise.

Flexibility tests that assess a range of motion in joints are often included in routine physical exams to assess limitations in daily activities such as walking, reaching, or lifting objects. For example, walking with bent knees due to the inability to fully extend the knee space puts pressure on the hips and back. The compression of the hamstrings (muscles behind the thigh) limits pelvic tilt. It can alter the lumbar or lower spine. Flexibility tests indicate the need for specific exercises to test flexibility.

Sit-and-reach tests

The sit-and-stretch test is the most common flexibility test. First described in 1952, it is often used as a general flexibility measure. The sit-and-stretch test assesses the flexibility of the hamstrings, hips, and lower back by measuring the ability to move forward from a seated position – the longer, the less pelvic movement is restricted. Stress in the hamstrings and lower back is often associated with low back pain, risk of injury, and other complications.

There are many variations on the sit-and-stretch test, sometimes called the V-sit test. The basic test consists of sitting on the floor, without shoes, with the legs fully extended and the feet of 2 inches (5 cm) and 12 inches (30 cm) with the arms extended, palms down, one hand on top of the other. Bend over, extending from your lower back to your spine, slowly advance as far as possible while inhaling and stretch for two seconds. The distance reached by fingerprints on the fourth or best of three or four attempts should rest for several seconds between each attempt.

There are several variations for sitting and stretching:

  • The partner can hold the knees to keep the legs extended.
  • The feet can be placed on a box, step, or another flat surface.
  • The subject can sit against the wall.
  • The back-saving version tests the legs separately, one stretched out and the other flat with the foot on the floor.
  • Older people can sit 17 inches (43 cm) high on the edge of a chair. With one foot flat on the ground, the other leg is extended straight at the knee, heel, and ankle on the ground.
  • The lift and tendon flexibility test uses a goniometer and eliminates the effects of arm, leg, and trunk length.

There are several ways to measure range, including:

  • Specially constructed sit-and-stretch box.
  • Ruler on the ground or foot.
  • The position of the crotch and heel is marked with “zero” near the patio between the legs.
  • A tape on the ground to reach a great distance from the wall.
  • The “zero” person adjusts, replacing different lengths of arms and legs, depending on their upright sitting position.

Upper body tests

Flexibility in the chest, shoulders, and muscles is very important for good posture. A test is performed by holding the ends of the wrapped towel and standing with the feet at the hips. Using the towel, lift your arms, and then roll your body slightly back until your chest, shoulders, and buttocks are comfortably stretched. Repeat the test closely with your hands on the towel.

External rotation of the shoulder is important for activities ranging from dressing to racquet sports. The knees are bent, with the feet resting on the back on a flat surface, with one arm at shoulder height and the elbow bent with the upper hand on the floor. The arm and forearm should return to the side of the head as much as possible.

The back-scratch, shoulder stretch, or shoulder flexibility test assesses the internal or internal rotation of the shoulder. One arm is raised above the head and bent at the elbow, reaching as far back as possible. The other hand reaches around the waist and tries to touch the fingers of the upper hand. The distance between the fingers is measured.

Flexibility tests precautions

Flexibility tests should not be painful and stretching should never be taken for granted. It is important to perform flexibility tests smoothly, without bouncing or jerking. Rapid movements can cause injury.

The flexibility of body proportion affects the test results. For example, people with long arms and/or short legs perform better sitting and stretching tests than those with short arms and/or long legs. Rounding the back during the sit-and-stretch test negates the results.

There are specific precautions for various flexibility tests:

  • Sit-and-stretch tests increase low back pain and should not be performed by anyone with osteoporosis or a recent total hip replacement.
  • Trunk rotation tests should not be exacerbated by distortion of someone with osteoporosis or back pain.
  • Anyone with a complete hip replacement should not have a hip flexion test.
  • People with foot or ankle problems should be examined by a physical therapist before performing the calf flexibility test.


In many cases, flexibility tests are similar to exercises that improve flexibility. Flexibility exercises should be done at least three times a week. Retests should be done every two to three months, but only once a week. Dynamic warm-up stretches can be added to a flexibility exercise routine. These include double hip rotations, shoulder stretches, neck rotations, and ligament stretches. Rules like yoga and Pilates always include exercises that improve flexibility.


Online maps and calculators are available to perform flexibility tests and compare results for the same age and gender. However, due to the many variations in test protocols and individual and developmental differences in arm, leg, and trunk lengths, it is generally advisable to record test results and compare them over time to assess progress. individual.

Depending on how the measurements are taken, the average results on a sit-and-stretch test at home can range from 0 to 2 inches (5 cm) for men and 0.5 to 4 inches (1 to 10 cm) for women. The highest results can be above 10.5 inches (27 cm) for men and 11.5 inches (29 cm) for women. Very Poor Results for Men -8.0 in. (-20 cm) less and -6 in for women. It can be less than (-15 cm).

Other typical results of flexibility tests include:

  • Trunk rotation: excellent (8 inches or 20 cm), Poor (0 inches) (fingers touching the line)
  • Groove test: excellent (2 inches or 5 cm) Poor (10 inches or 25 cm).
  • Normal calf flexibility: pulling the leg past the ankle joint or bending the ankle more than 90 than the body.
  • Normal shoulder height: armrests above the head in full contact with the ground.
  • Normal Shoulder External Rotation – Rest your entire arm on the floor at shoulder level with your elbow bent.

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