Flexibility training can sometimes be discouraging as it is hard to measure our daily and weekly wins. Flexibility is a long term game in which we become more flexible incrementally over time. One of the major success factor in any goal is to be able to measure your progress. Fortunately, there is a method you can apply to measure your hamstring flexibility so you can celebrate those wins!

Sit-and-Reach Range of Motion Test

You will need:

1. A box, chair or apparatus which is roughly the same height as your body seated.

2. Ruler or something that is flat and light weight to slide along the box.

How To:

  • Sitting on the floor with your heels pressed against a box.
  • Place your right hand over the left and knees.
  • Make sure your knees are flat with the floor with a full extension.
  • Reach forward and push a slide as far as possible with your fingertips.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Repeat three rounds with a short break of 15 seconds in between.
  • Your average is your score.

Flexibility Progress: Photographs

Before and after photos are really important when it comes to seeing results from your flexibility training. I must say that I do lack in this department although looking at photos over the last few years I can see ample progress.

Once again to measure your hamstring flexibility with photographs you can use the sit and reach method. Instead of reaching for a block reach for your toes and try and bring your chest down as far as possible to your legs. This can also be done in a standing position.

What poses should I photograph for my flexibility progress?

There are several key poses that you want to photograph to measure your progress. For instance you will want to be able to show the before and after of your back flexibility, shoulder and chest flexibility, and splits flexibility as a basic rule of thumb.

If you are training for several contortion poses then you will want to photograph yourself in each of the poses to see your progress.

Chest & Shoulder Flexibility

King Pigeon With Strap

How To:

  • Begin in a downward-facing dog.
  • Bend your left knee and sweep your left shin forward bring it forward in between your hands to become parallel with the mat. 
  • Extend your right leg behind you your hips should be squared forward and your right knee should face down onto the floor.
  • Lift your chest using your fingertips to bring your torso to an upright position.
  • Press down onto the floor with your hips and tailbone and lift up with your chest.
  • Bend your right knee and flex your foot drawing your heel to your buttock.
  • Reach back with your right-hand Palm facing upward and grasp your toes from the inside of your foot. (This is not possible for all of us. Substitute with a strap for this pose).
  • Support yourself with the fingertips of the left hand. 
  • Lift up through your spine open your chest and hold for 5 breaths.

Lower & Upper Back Flexibility

Wheel Pose

How To:

  • Starting laying on the ground face up.
  • Place your palms above your shoulders.
  • Fingers should be facing the shoulders.
  • Knees bend and feet come to the bottom of the sit bones.
  • Depress your weight into your feet and hands.
  • Lift the body, engage your core and open your heart.
  • Try to walk your feet closer towards the hands.

Bow Pose

How To:

  • Starting laying on the ground face down.
  • Bend the knees and bring the heels towards your sit bones/bootie ;).
  • Gently lift the chest through a small extension.
  • Reach around and grab your ankles.
  • Exhale extend and lift the torso towards the sky.
  • Fully extend the legs as far as your body will let you.
  • Ensure that the belly button is drawing in towards the spine.

Splits Flexibility

Middle Split

How To:

  • Keeping the legs and feet in line with the hips.
  • Lower your groin while allowing the legs to extend to each side.
  • If you have an oversplit then you would do the same on blocks.

To measure your middle splits you need to measure the flexibility of your adductors.

How To:

  • From a lunge position, ensure that the hips are square.
  • Slowly begin to straighten the legs while using your hands or a block as support.
  • Bring your hips as close to the ground as possible.

Total Body Flexibility Testing

If you are interested in measurement testing all areas in your body then try these flexibility tests:

Upper Body Flexibility Testing

Upper Body

Trunk and Lower Body

How Often Should I Test My Flexibility?

Studies show that if you stretch three times a week for six weeks you will see results. Personally I like to measure my flexibility once a month to see my gains.

The most essential photographs are your starting point photos. You may not think that you have become much more flexible over a month yet they will show you a different outcome.

I was thinking of putting together a countability group where we all put our flexibility photos in once a month and cheer each other on. What do you think? Let me know by either commenting on the post or you can contact me directly at [email protected]

Jadore Vanessa

Take it to the next level with my flexibility classes and online coaching.

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Flexibility, Contortion & Yoga Instructor.