The Shoulder Circumduction test is a test of shoulder flexibility, in which a sliding handle is held in the hands and passed over the head. The results take into account shoulder width and arm length (as does the Acuflex III Shoulder Rotation Test). Another shoulder flexibility test designed for testing the elderly is the Back Scratch Test.
purpose: to measure shoulder flexibility
equipment required: a cord that has a fixed handle on one end and a sliding handle on the other. A similar device may be the Acuflex III Shoulder Rotation Apparatus.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: First arm length is measured from the acromion to the metacarpal phalanx joint of the middle finger with a tape measure (this is used for the results calculation). Next measure shoulder width, from acromion to acromion. Adjust the sliding handle so that the length of the cord between the inside of the two handles is equivalent to the participant’s shoulder width. Then, holding the two handles of the cord, the participant passes the cord, from in front of the body, over the head and as far back as possible. This movement must be made with extended arms, and participants must try to keep their arms from fanning out more than is physically necessary to complete the movement.
scoring: After a practice trial, the best score of three trials is recorded. Higher scores indicate better performance. The score is the angle of fanning out, in degrees, calculated with the following formula where S = how much the sliding handle shifted in centimeters during the movement and L = length of the arm in centimeters from acromion to the metacarpophalangeal joint of the middle linger.
Score Angle (°) = arc cos S/2L
target population: this test was designed specifically for the elderly population.
- Lemmink, K.A.P.M. (1996). De Groninger Fitheidstest voor Ouderen: Ontwikketing van een meetinstrument [The Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly: Development of a measuring instrument. Thesis in Dutch language, English summary]. Groningen, The Netherlands: Department of Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen.
- Koen A.P.Lemmink, Han Kemper, Mathieu H.G. de Greef, and Piet Rispens P, Stevens M, Reliability of the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly, Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 2001, 9, 194-212
- Lemmink, KAPM., Kemper, HCG., de Greef, MHG., Rispens, P., & Stevens, M. (2003). The validity of the circumduction test in elderly men and women. JOURNAL OF AGING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, 11(4), 433-444.
The Test in Action
- This test is part of the protocol for the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly.
- Shoulder Flex Test — lift a stick over the head to behind the back, maintaining the hand grip on the object.
- Shoulder Rotation: Acuflex III — lift a bar from behind the back, with the hands as close together as possible. The result is adjusted for biacrominal width.
- Shoulder Raise — face down with hands above the head and together, raise them as high as possible.
- More about the Groningen Fitness Test for the Elderly
- A discussion about Fitness Testing for the Elderly
- List of more Flexibility Tests
- Flexibility Test Videos
- How to measure bicromial width and arm length
- See also the shoulder flexibility exercises on this list of stretches
- Flexibility Store — items to measure flexibility.
- Buy the Acuflex III Shoulder Rotation Tester