Three Ways to Test Your Flexibility
Tracey Mallett

New Mom's Companion
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 One: 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 result.

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 quality of movement/function of your daily activities.

Test Two: Upper Body Flexibility Test

Props needed: Rolled up medium-sized towel and sticky tape.

Standing with feet hips-width apart holding a rolled up towel at each end of the towel. Reach hands straight overhead with a taught towel; 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 has increased.

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, they can cause you to be round shouldered and slightly hunchbacked.

Test Three: Lateral side stretch and lower back flexibility test

Props: Sticky tape

Standing tall away from the wall with your butt and back resting against the wall. Holding 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 has increased.

The object of this flexibility test is to test the flexibility and range of motion in your lower back and obliques (side abdominal muscles).

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. Her newest videos are "Renew You” and "Super Body BootCamp.” A proud mother of two, Tracey, who hails from Bloxwich, England, now lives in Los Angeles. Visit her online at

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