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5 Flexibility Marks Every Man Should Hit

Improved flexibility can ward off injury. Here's how to find out if you're lacking.

Test #2: Thomas Test

Unfortunately, most guys spend the bulk of their day in a seated position. This posture shortens the hip flexors and can put the hips and the lower back in a world of hurt. Since the hip flexors can change pelvic alignment, they can affect strength and performance all the way up and down the body. The Thomas Test is a fantastic assessment, since it can highlight both tight hip flexors and tight quadriceps.

Directions: Lie on your back with your hips sitting at the very end of a massage table and your feet hanging off the end. Pull one knee into your chest and allow your other leg to hang freely. Have a training partner note where your down leg is hanging. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Results: If you're like most guys, your upper thigh won't get to parallel with the table. This is a good indicator that your hip flexors are tighter than normal. If your upper thigh gets to parallel with the table or slightly lower, you likely have sufficient flexibility in your hip. Also, take a look at your knee angle as your leg dangles. If it doesn't relax at 90 degrees or slightly less, chances are your quads are too tight.

The Exercise Performance Hot Spot: Hip Flexors>>>

Test #3: Lying Arm Raise

Typical computer posture isn't the only culprit to blame for rounded shoulders. A heavy reliance on the bench press and other major chest-builders help to pull the shoulders forward and create a hunched appearance. Over time, this can lead to injury at the shoulder joint and also a rounded torso that ruins all of your hard work in the gym. The lying arm raise helps to assess shoulder flexibility and indicate when it might be time to shift focus away from the chest-builders and strengthen the upper back.

Directions: Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Raise your arms straight in front of your chest and turn your palms to face each other. Keeping your back flat on the ground and your elbows locked out, slowly raise your arms overhead, attempting to lay them on the ground.

Results: Passing this test requires laying your arms all the way overhead without bending your elbows and having them come to a full stop on the ground. The majority of guys probably aren't going to be able to make it that far without bending their elbows. The culprits are likely tight lats and pecs. These muscles rotate your shoulders and arms inward, making it difficult to fully open up your chest.

How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries>>>

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