8 Chapter 8: Flexibility and agility testing

Melissa Markofski



Flexibility is one of the five components of physical fitness. When prescribing an exercise prescription that includes exercises to increase flexibility, the exercises can be static, ballistic, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.  Flexibility can be influenced by many factors, including muscle properties, physical activity and exercise, anatomical structure, age, and sex.

To test flexibility, goniometers, sit-and-reach tests, and functional movement screenings are the most commonly used methods. Testing for flexibility is highly specific, meaning it only relates to the specific joint being tested. For this reason, a comprehensive flexibility assessment will include several measures. For the purpose of this lab, we will use some of the more popular methods to conduct a limited assessment of flexibility.

A note: the current ACSM Guidelines (11th edition) no longer recommend using the sit and reach test to test flexibility. This is due to there being many variations of the sit and reach test (which can lead to confusion), questionable relationship to hamstring flexibility, and it being an indirect linear measurement of ROM. Instead, ACSM recommends using goniometer testing for a direct measure of joint ROM. The downside to using a goniometer is that it does require more skill and practice to do correctly and is difficult to test a large number of people quickly. For this class, we will acknowledge the weaknesses of the sit and reach test but, due to the ease of administering the test correctly, also use the sit and reach test.



Agility relates to effectively changing direction, velocity, or mode in response to a stimulus. It is an important skill for many sports activities. For example, in football and soccer the ability to quickly change directions is a desirable skill. Some of the tests used to test agility, such as the hexagon test, can also be used as a drill to improve agility.


Class activity

Activity 1: Goniometer measures

Equipment: Goniometer

Participant: Everyone will have the ROM of at least one joined measured. Those without orthopedic limitations will perform sit-and-reach tests, agility tests, and functional movement testing.

Additional reading: Textbook REP chapter 5 and tables referenced in these pages


  1. Using a goniometer and the instructions in REP Table 5.1,  measure hip flexion, hip extension, or glenohumeral flexion. Table 5.1 will instruct you on where to place the goniometer.
  2. Measure twice and calculate the average.
  3. If the two measures differ by more than 3 degrees, collect a third measurement.


Activity 2: Assess hip and hamstring flexibility using a standard sit-and-reach test

Equipment: Sit-and-reach box

Participant: Everyone will participate. Those without orthopedic limitations will perform the sit-and-reach test. If there are concerns about the back and/or hamstring, a modified test can be used instead (bend one knee to form a “4”)

Additional reading: Textbook REP chapter 5 and tables referenced in these pages


  1. Sit on the floor with back against the wall, knees extended, and feet flat against the inside of the box and the medial edges of the feet six inches apart from each other.
  2. Keeping knees fully extended and arms stretched in front of the body, reach as far as possible along the top of the box.
  3. The hands must be flat and pronated (can overlap or just touch) and stay parallel to the ground.
  4. Attempt three times (no bouncing between attempts!) and use the best of the three measures to compare to the table posted in Blackboard.


Activity 3: T-test

Equipment: Stopwatch, cones

Participant: Everyone who does not have a relevant orthopedic limitation will participate.

Additional reading: This website has an illustration of the set-up for the T-test and the norms data table you will use to categorize your result: https://www.professionalsoccercoaching.com/agility-drills/t-test-agility

and this is a nice video demonstration of the test:


Note: Every participant runs two trials of the T-test. Before the two times trials, run one or two T-tests at submaximal effort to warm-up and familiarize yourself with the test. The position for the test is always facing the top part of the T (no rotating) and touching the base of the cones.

  1. Start at cone A and face cone B.
  2. When told to start, run forward and touch the base of cone B.
  3. Shuffle to the left and touch the base of cone C.
  4. Shuffle to the right and touch the base of cone D.
  5. Shuffle to the left and touch the base of cone B.
  6. Run backwards and past cone A.
  7. The clock should be stopped when the participant runs past cone A.


Activity 4: Hexagon test

Equipment: Stopwatch, hexagon tape outline in MEL 223

Participant: Everyone who does not have a relevant orthopedic limitation will participate.

Additional reading: This is a nice video on how to conduct (and participate in!) the test:


Note: Everyone does this test twice, once each at clockwise and counterclockwise rotation. Warm-up by practicing the test in both directions at a submaximal effort. For the test, if you fail to jump over the line (or land on it) or take an extra step, the test is stopped and restarted after time for recovery.

  1. Start in the middle of the hexagon.
  2. Starting with the line in front of you, jump over the line and back to the center.
  3. Continue by jumping over the next line in the clockwise or counterclockwise rotation.
  4. The timer is stopped after the participant has jumped over all six sides three times (three complete passes) and returns to the center.
  5. Compare your clockwise and counterclockwise times to each other and this table (numbers listed are seconds): https://wiki.ubc.ca/File:Normative_Data_(National_Norms)_for_the_Hexagon_Agility_Test.png


Activity 5 (if time allows): Agility drills

If time allows, participate in one of these two agility drills

Agility practice with ladder

Run through the ladder twice for each of these, alternating lead foot or direction (as appropriate): double run (run through ladder, and both feet have to be in the box before running to the next box), side jumps (face the side of the ladder and jump through each box), and in and out (face side of ladder, and jump in and out of the boxes—over the red line).

Agility practice with agility balls.

  • Stand ~ 10 feet from your partner. Throw the ball about halfway between the two of you, and the other person must “catch” the ball.


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