Flexibility is judged by the movement available at a joint and can be described as the ability to lengthen a muscle without causing structural damage (Kibler, 2000). This will be affected by a number of factors including the individual’s muscle mass, bone structure, adipose tissue and skin (Prentice, 1999).
Low back pain, a common complaint among middle-aged sedentary adults, may be caused by a number of factors including trauma, poor muscle tone (particularly in the muscles of the abdominal wall) and a lack of flexibility in the lower back and hamstring regions. Flexibility in the lower back and hamstrings can be assessed using a sit and reach box (see protocol below).
This test is relatively safe to perform unless the participant has experienced low back injury previously, particularly a prolapsed disc. If this is the case, they should be referred to their doctor or specialist for further evaluation.
Muscular Flexibility (Basic)
Flexibility will be covered much later, however, this is the standard test we adopt.
|The sit and reach box: |
Method of assessment
| Ideally, this test should be performed after the client has performed an aerobic test and is already warmed up. |
Otherwise, take the client through a warm up
ask the client to remove shoes and any items of clothing that will restrict the movementposition the client with his/her feet flat against the board.
His/her legs and back should be straight
Ask the client to reach forward slowly and smoothly maintaining a straight back for as long as possible
Record the distance at the point the client starts to bend his/her back.
This is a measure of hamstring flexibility
Ask the client to continue to reach forward as far as possible bending his/her back.
Record the furthest point.
This is a measure of hamstring and lower back flexibility