What is a Flexibility Test and what is its Purpose?
Flexibility is defined as the range of movement in a joint or a series of joints and is also the length of muscles that induce a bending motion or movement. Flexibility is the capacity of a joint, or certain joints in your body to move in its full range of motion.
Flexibility tests are procedures used to determine a person’s flexibility or the flexibility of certain parts of the patient’s body. There is really no flexibility test that can be used to give a person’s overall flexibility, and different flexibility tests can give a flexibility score for a variety of joints.
Most Common Types of Flexibility Tests, Corresponding Procedures, and Results
There are many types of flexibility tests out there that can effectively measure the flexibility of a person’s body. Some of the most common flexibility tests that are in use today are:
1. Sit and Reach Flexibility Test – the sit and reach test is perhaps the most common flexibility test in use out there. The sit and reach measures the flexibility of your lower back as well as the hamstring muscles. The sit and reach is an important flexibility test because the areas simulated by this procedure are implicated in lumbar lordosis, lower back pain and forward pelvic tilt. The traditional sit and reach can also be used to measure the combined flexibility of the legs.
Sit and Reach Procedure – prepare a meter rule and a box about 30cm or 12 in high.
- Begin by sitting on the floor with your head and back against the wall. Your legs should be straight ahead and your knees flat against the floor
- Have someone assist you in placing the box flat against your feet. All while still keeping your back and head against the wall, stretch your arms out towards the box.
- Have the same person assist you in placing the ruler on the box, then, with arms stretched out towards the box, have the person move the zero of the ruler to the end of your fingertips. When this is achieved, you have the zero point and the test can begin.
- While in the same position, lean forward slowly as far as you can while keeping your legs flat on the floor and your fingertips level with each other.
- Slowly reach the length of the ruler about 3 times. On the third attempt, your reach should be as far as you possibly can, and you should hold the position for 2 seconds.
2. Groin Flexibility Test – another common type of flexibility test is the groin flexibility test. This test measures the flexibility of your adductors.
Groin Flexibility Test Procedure: The equipment you will need will be a ruler or a tape measure.
- Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent, legs together and feet flat on the floor.
- Proceed by letting your knees drop sideways as far as possible, all the while keeping your feet firm together. The soles of your feet should be together in this procedure.
- Then, clasp your feet with both hands as you proceed to pull your ankles as close to your body as you possibly can.
- Finish off by having someone measure the distance from your heels to your groin.
3. Trunk Rotation Test – the trunk rotation test is a flexibility test that is used to measure the flexibility of your trunk and shoulders.
Trunk Rotation Procedure: the only equipment you will need for this procedure is a wall and a pencil or a piece of chalk.
- Start by marking a vertical line on the wall. Then, proceed by standing with your back towards the wall directly in front of the line. Your position should now be about arm’s length away from the wall, while your shoulders and feet are wide apart.
- Proceed by extending your arms out directly in front of you until they are parallel to the floor. Proceed to twist your trunk to the right and touch the wall right behind you with your fingertips. Do this while your arms stay extended and parallel to the floor. Then, turn your hips, knees, and shoulders while not allowing your feet to move.
- Mark the place where your fingertips have touched the wall. Measure this place’s distance from the line. Remember that a point before the line is considered a negative score while a point after the line is a positive score.
- Repeat the same procedure with the left side of your body.
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