Testing Your Flexibility Before Stretching muscles.
Testing your flexibility is an important first step in planning your stretching program. This simple test not only shows you what areas are too tight to allow a normal range of motion, they can also indicate when a muscle is too loose and allows too much range of motion.
Too short and you will not have movement without compensation; too long and you will not have the necessary strength and stability in the joint. Every person has unique flexibility needs and potential. There’s no definitive marker for how much flexibility you should have for every test. Rather, use the following test as a gauge to locate problem areas and to measure your progress over time.
Record your test scores in your initial evaluation and again at regular intervals, such as every 4 or 8 weeks. Each test begins with a simple description, followed by a starting position, the movement. Complete as many of the tests as possible, as flexibility is specific to each joint, and determining your flexibility in a few joints is not an indicator of flexibility in others.
1. Trunk Rotation
- Starting position: Draw a straight vertical line on a wall. Stand with your back to the wall and centred in front of the line. Position yourself arm’s length away with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Movement: Extend your right arm directly in front and parallel to the floor. Rotate your trunk to your right and try to touch the wall behind you with your fingertips. You can rotate your shoulders, hips, and knees as long as your feet don’t move. Repeat with the left side.
- Stretches: Half Kneeling Dowel Twist; Kneeling Rotation; Spinal Rotation.
2. Back Extension
- Starting Position: Lie on your front with your arms to your side and palms up.
- Movement: Slowly raise your torso as high as possible. Keep your head neutral and eyes focused forward.
- Stretches: Lying Chest Lift (Cobra); Back Extension on Stability Ball; Cat and Camel