About Flexibility Testing

Flexibility is the capacity of a joint to move through its full range of motion. There is no single test that can give you a score for overall body flexibility, although sometimes a single flexibility test is used in a test battery to represent a flexibility score. Each flexibility test is specific to a particular movement or joints.

There are direct and indirect methods of measuring flexibility. The indirect method usually involves the linear measurement of distances between segments or from an external object. Direct methods measure angular displacements between adjacent segments or from an external reference. See the list of Flexibility Tests.

Some flexibility tests require the subject to be 'cold', that is with no prior activity or warm up, while others allow a warm-up. Depending on whether the test protocol requires a warm up or not, the flexibility tests should be scheduled early in the testing session prior to any activity, or after a thorough warm up later in the test battery. It is also important to standardize the clothing worn by the subject - ideally the clothing should allow freedom of movement, and also allow the tester be able to observe all anatomical landmarks during movement to ensure correct procedures are followed. For calf flexibility testing and the sit and reach, the shoes are normally removed.

balance stretch on the beach

To measure flexibility, there are specific devices such as the sit and reach box, and devices for direct measures of flexibility using a Goniometer and a Flexometer.

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