Bones, joints, and muscles
Test your flexibility
The following are three ways to test your flexibility. The idea of testing
is to become aware of how tightness with certain muscle groups can lead to
injury if you are not careful during fitness workouts.
Test 1: hamstring flexibility test
Props needed: tape measure and either a small sticky note or sticky tape
Sit tall against a wall with your legs straight out in front of you, trying
to keep your legs as straight as possible. Legs are a couple of inches apart with
your knees and toes facing the ceiling. Place your hands on top of each other
holding your sticky and reach arms out in front of body, extending the spine from
the lower back, leading with your breastbone first. Place your sticky on the floor
between your legs as far as you can reach forward, keeping good form.
Be careful not to round over as you reach forward; this will give you a false
Measure from the wall to the sticky and record your result. Each week, do the
same test again and see how much your flexibility has increased.
The object of this test is to measure the flexibility in the hamstrings.
Tightness of these muscles can cause lower back pain and can also negatively
affect the quality of movement/function of your daily activities.
Test 2: upper body flexibility test
Props needed: rolled up medium-sized towel and sticky tape
Standing with feet hips-width apart and holding a rolled up towel at each end,
reach your hands straight overhead, holding the towel taught. Gently move your
hands slightly behind the body. Stop when you feel a comfortable stretch in the
chest, biceps, and shoulders.
Keep your arms as straight as possible.
Wrap sticky tape around the towel exactly where your hands were. Measure the
distance from each sticky mark and record your number. In a week's time, perform
the same test, placing your hands a little bit closer together. If you can keep
good form and comfortably hold the test position, place tape where you hands were
and measure the distance between the new tape and see how much your flexibility
The object of this test is to see what range of motion you have and how it has
improved the flexibility in your chest, shoulders, and biceps. The flexibility of
these muscles has a huge impact on your posture. If any of these muscles are tight,
the tightness can cause you to be round shouldered and slightly hunchbacked.
Test 3: lateral side stretch and lower back flexibility test
Props needed: sticky tape
Standing tall away from the wall with your butt and back resting against the wall,
hold a piece of tape in your right hand. Side bend over to the right without collapsing
on the underneath side. Place a sticky as far down the leg as you can whilst
maintaining good form.
Think of reaching up and over as you side bend.
Measure from the floor to the tape on your leg and record your number. Repeat
this in a week's time with the same test and compare results to see if your flexibility
The object of this flexibility test is to test the flexibility and range of motion
in your lower back and obliques (side abdominal muscles).
About the Author:
Tracey Mallett is an internationally-recognized
certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She is also a certified fitness instructor, Gyrotonic? and Master Pilates instructor. Tracey is the creator and star of the 3 in 1 Pregnancy System, the first DVD of its kind
combining Pilates, Yoga and strength training for pre- and post-natal mothers. Renew You Sleek and Lean, Renew You Cardio Fusion, Superbody Boot Camp: Burn It, and Superbody Boot Camp: Firm It. A proud mother of two,
Tracey, who hails from Bloxwich, England, now lives in Los Angeles. Visit her online