If you want to assess your fitness level, certain characteristics are fairly easy to measure. To test the strength of different muscle groups, for example, just see how much weight you can lift. Testing your flexibility level is more difficult, unless you know how to perform specific flexibility tests. The shoulder lift test assesses shoulder flexion, which occurs when you lift your arms straight up in front of your torso. Perform the test to find out whether you need to add more shoulder stretches to your fitness routine.
Things You'll Need
- Ruler or similar straight object
- Measuring device
Warm up for about 10 minutes. Do some light aerobic activity and a few dynamic shoulder stretches, such as arm swings or circles.
Lie face down on the floor and extend your arms straight out in front of you, about shoulder-width apart, so your arms are aligned with your torso and your palms face the floor.
Grasp a ruler or a similar straight object in both hands. Keep your arms extended with your elbows locked and your wrists straight. Place your chin on the floor and keep it there throughout the test.
Lift your arms straight up, without bending your wrists or elbows, while you keep the ruler parallel with the floor. Have a training partner measure the distance from the bottom of the ruler straight down to the floor.
Tips & Warnings
- Perform the test two or three times and use the best performance for your assessment. Rest your arms as long as you wish between tests, but don’t let your muscles go cold.
- For men, a score of about 21 inches is average. You have good flexibility if you can raise the ruler at least 24 inches, and excellent flexibility if you can reach 28 inches. Your score is poor if you can only manage 12 inches and fair if you can reach 16. Women’s flexibility is considered poor at about 13 inches, fair at 17, average around 21.5, good at 25 and excellent at 29.
- See a health professional if you feel pain during the test, or you have any concern about your shoulder flexibility.
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