Variations in Forward Bending

Hamstrings and back, both normal. Hamstrings and back, both excessively flexible. Hamstrings tight, low back excessively flexible. Hamstrings normal, upper back excessively flexible.

Hamstrings and back, both tight. Hamstrings excessive in length, low back tight.

Normal Range of Motion in Forward Bending: Normal length of the hamstrings permits the pelvis to flex toward the thigh to the extent that the angle between the sacrum and the table is approximately 80°. Normal ilex-ion of the lumbar spine permits the spine to flatten. Normal flexion of thoracic spine permits an increase in the posterior convexity, which is seen as a smooth, continuous curve in this area. The average adult will be able to touch fingertips to toes in forward bending with knees straight if the flexibility of the back and the length of the hamstrings are both normal. (See figure in left column.)

The ability to touch fingertips to toes is a desirable accomplishment for most adults. This subject shows hamstring length and back flexibility within normal limits.

In forward bending, excessive hamstring length permits excessive flexion of the pelvis toward the thigh (hip joint flexion). This subject also has excessive flexion in the mid-back (i.e., thoracolumbar) area.

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