Monday, 17 Jun 2024

Back Scratch Test

The Back Scratch Test, also known as the Scratch Test, is a measurement of shoulder flexibility. This test is specifically designed for seniors as part of the Senior Fitness Test Protocol to assess their functional fitness. Another test that focuses on shoulder flexibility in the elderly is the Shoulder Circumduction Test.

Purpose

The Back Scratch Test is used to measure general shoulder range of motion.

Equipment Required

To conduct this test, you will need a ruler or a yardstick.

Procedure

  1. Stand in an upright position.
  2. Place one hand behind your head and back over your shoulder, reaching as far down the middle of your back as possible. Ensure that your palm is touching your body and your fingers are directed downwards.
  3. Place your other arm behind your back, with the palm facing outward and the fingers pointing upward. Reach up as far as possible, attempting to touch or overlap the middle fingers of both hands.
  4. An assistant is required to align the fingers and measure the distance between the tips of the middle fingers.
  5. If the fingertips touch, the score is recorded as zero. If they do not touch, measure the distance between the fingertips as a negative score. If they overlap, measure the overlap distance as a positive score.
  6. Practice the test two times before conducting it officially. Then, perform the test two additional times.
  7. Stop the test immediately if the subject experiences any pain.
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Scoring

Record the best score to the nearest centimeter or half an inch. The higher the score, the better the result. Refer to the table below for the recommended ranges (in inches) based on age groups.

Age Group Recommended Range (in inches)
60-69 0.08-1.55
70-79 0.27-1.41
80-89 -0.19-1.34
90-99 -0.19-1.18

Note: The normal range of scores is defined as the middle 50% of the population. Scores above this range are considered above average, while scores below the range are below average.

Target Population

The Back Scratch Test is specifically designed for the aged population who may not be able to perform traditional fitness tests.

Advantages

One of the major advantages of the Back Scratch Test is that it requires minimal equipment.

Other Comments

This test is also sometimes referred to as the Zipper Test, as the arm is placed down the back as if pulling up a zipper.

References:

  • Anna Różańska-Kirschke, Piotr Kocur, Małgorzata Wilk, Piotr Dylewicz, “The Fullerton Fitness Test as an index of fitness in the elderly,” Medical Rehabilitation, 2006; 10(2): 9-16.
  • Jones C.J., Rikli R.E., “Measuring functional fitness of older adults,” The Journal on Active Aging, March-April 2002, pp. 24-30.

The Test in Action

The Back Scratch Test is part of the Senior Fitness Test Protocol.

Similar Tests

  • Shoulder Stretch: Measures the ability to bring the hands together behind the back.
  • Shoulder Reach Flexibility Test: Measures the ability to bring the hands within 5cm behind the back.
  • Apley’s Shoulder Scratch Test: Measures shoulder movement by reaching behind to touch the opposite scapula.
  • Shoulder Circumduction Test: Another shoulder flexibility test designed for testing the elderly.
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Related Pages

  • Other flexibility tests.
  • Flexibility Test Videos.
  • Join the discussion about testing the elderly.
  • Learn more about the Senior Fitness Test.
  • Explore Fitness Testing for Specific Groups and Special Populations.

Related Products

  • Purchase the Senior Fitness Test Manual.
  • Visit the Flexibility Store for apparatus to measure flexibility.

FAQs

Q: How is the Back Scratch Test performed?
A: To perform the Back Scratch Test, stand upright and place one hand behind your head and back over your shoulder, reaching down the middle of your back. Place your other arm behind your back, attempting to touch or overlap the middle fingers of both hands. Measure the distance between the fingertips with the assistance of an observer.

Q: What does the Back Scratch Test measure?
A: The Back Scratch Test measures shoulder flexibility and range of motion.

Q: What are the recommended ranges for the Back Scratch Test based on age groups?
A: The recommended ranges for the Back Scratch Test vary based on age groups. Please refer to the scoring table in the article for specific ranges.

Q: What is the purpose of the Back Scratch Test?
A: The Back Scratch Test is designed to assess general shoulder range of motion, particularly for seniors.

Q: Can the Back Scratch Test be performed by individuals of all fitness levels?
A: Yes, the Back Scratch Test is suitable for individuals of all fitness levels and is particularly useful for assessing the functional fitness of seniors.

Summary

The Back Scratch Test is a valuable measurement of shoulder flexibility, specifically targeting the aged population who may not be able to perform traditional fitness tests. This test assesses the general range of motion in the shoulders and can provide valuable insights into an individual’s functional fitness. By following the prescribed procedure and scoring guidelines, this test can be easily conducted with minimal equipment. Incorporating the Back Scratch Test into fitness assessments for seniors can help professionals tailor exercise programs to address specific flexibility needs. To learn more about the Back Scratch Test and other similar tests, explore the related pages and products mentioned above. Start incorporating this test into your fitness assessments to gain a deeper understanding of shoulder flexibility and functional fitness.

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