Flexibility assessment: normative values for flexitest from 5 to 91 years of age

Arq Bras Cardiol. 2008 Apr;90(4):257-63. doi: 10.1590/s0066-782x2008000400008.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Background: Physical exercise plays a role in health-promotion policies and its prescription should be scientifically based. Flexibility is one of the major components of health-related and performance-related physical fitness, and is defined as the maximum physiological passive range of motion of a given joint movement. According to its specificity, the assessment of flexibility should, ideally, incorporate multiple movements. Introduced in 1980 and with redesigned evaluation maps published in 1986, Flexitest consists of the assessment of mobility with the use of a scale from 0 to 4. By adding the individual results of the 20 joint movements assessed, it is possible to obtain a global score called Flexindex.

Objective: To present Flexitest updated normative values.

Methods: Data were obtained from 4711 non-athlete subjects (2943 men and 1768 women) with age ranging from 5 to 91 years, and were collected by experienced raters. Approximately 70% of the data were collected by the author of the method himself.

Results: Considering the data heteroscedasticity and non-parametric distribution, we chose to use age and gender-percentile tables. Flexindex decreases with age and the median results for females are higher than for males of the same age since childhood. This trend becomes stronger with physical development and, later, with the aging process.

Conclusion: these normative data contribute to a better knowledge of the flexibility behavior with age and gender and will be useful for professionals who assess flexibility in their professional practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reference Standards
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult