Shoulder Reach Flexibility Test

This is a simple test of shoulder flexibility. See also the Back Scratch Test, effectively the same test which is designed for testing seniors, and the more simple Shoulder Stretch test.

purpose: To test the flexibility of the shoulder joint, which is important for injury prevention and in particular is important in swimming, racket sports and throwing sports.

equipment required: ruler or tape measure.

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: Test your left shoulder by standing with your right arm straight up, then bend your elbow so your hand hangs behind your head. Keeping your upper arm stationary, rest your palm between your shoulder blades. Reach around behind you with your left arm so the palm is facing out and try to touch the fingers of both hands together. Reverse the procedure and repeat with the opposite shoulder.

scoring: measure the minimum distance between hands. See the table below for general guidelines for interpreting the results

rating description
Goodback scratch test Fingers are touching
Fair Fingertips are not touching but are less than two inches (5cm) apart.
Poorback scratch test Fingertips are greater than two inches (5cm) apart.

disadvantages: Variations in arm length can make comparisons between individuals misleading.

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