A flexibility test is a test used to determine, in relative terms, how flexible an individual is. Sometimes an individual will take a flexibility test simply to find out how flexible he is and to pinpoint areas in which he needs to improve. In other cases, fitness tests are used to determine an individual's eligibility for certain activities. Flexibility can be tested through a variety of different methods, such as the sit-and-reach test and the trunk rotation test. It is not uncommon for an individual to complete several of these tests as this is the only way for one to determine his overall flexibility.
The sit and reach test is the most common form of flexibility test; it is used to measure the flexibility of the hamstrings and the lower back. In the sit and reach test, an individual sits on the floor with his feet flat against a box in front of him. He then leans forward and tries to extend his hands as far down the box (in the direction of his feet) as possible. Someone, usually not the individual taking the test, then measures how far the test-taker was able to reach. This measurement is usually taken from the test-taker's feet to the farthest point he was able to reach, but this is not always the case.
Another common flexibility test is the shoulder flexibility test. Shoulder flexibility is very important in sports such as swimming and tennis; inflexible shoulders can lead to injury. To take the test, one lies flat on his back and holds a towel or a stick in front of himself. He then lifts the stick as high as he can without bending his elbows; all movement comes from the shoulders. The shoulder test is generally repeated several times with the hands different distances apart on the stick; the height of the stick and the distance between hands are both taken into account when scoring the test.
A flexibility test may be used for any of a wide variety of different purposes. Many individuals, particularly athletes, use the tests in order to figure out which stretches they should focus on. Some high schools and colleges use flexibility as one of the criteria to determine which students are required to take physical education classes. In some cases, an athletic team may also use this test to judge individuals who wish to join the team.