Simple Self-Assessments: Toe Touch

So below is essentially everything that I have to say and think about a simple toe touch test. Feel free to bookmark this page, refer back to it over and over, because it probably won’t be super easy to digest right away. But that’s the point. In any case, let this introduction serve as a TL;DR version, as I made an easy flowchart for you to follow if you don’t feel like reading all of the mechanisms involved with the toe touch.

–> Click Here to See a Toe Touch Flowchart <–

Touching your toes is an easy assessment used by almost anyone and everyone as a measure of one’s instantaneous “flexibility”. In reality, there are certain patterns that some people may excel in due to the position of the joint(s) that they are testing. With the toe touch, this can be categorized as a flexion based pattern, as it mainly involves flexing at the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, along with the hips.

When I first began my my foray into the fitness industry, I distinctly recall using this green ol’ box to measure my flexibility. Some may remember this from grade school as a “test” within the President’s Fitness Challenge.

This blows my mind now.
This blows my mind now.

As stated above, the toe touch is one’s ability … to touch your toes. Surprise.

On a serious note, previous thoughts on the toe touch were that it was a measure of one’s hamstring length, and whether or not the standard was met of reaching your toes, you would need to stretch your hamstrings if you couldn’t touch your toes.

Allow me to address this flawed thought process now – it is not solely a measure of one’s hamstring length, and you probably do not need to stretch to achieve “length” in your legs in order to touch your toes.

One Does Not Simply Stretch Your Hamstrings

There are other things at play here – namely, the integrity and stability of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical junctions.

To play devil’s advocate on the aspect of lumbar flexion, imagine if you can touch your toes, yet you STILL feel tightness in your hamstrings. What exactly are you “stretching” afterwards…?

How to Stretch

If you go and stretch your hamstrings in addition to portraying excessive lumbar flexion, is it possible that you may be over-stretching the erectors of the lumbar and thoracic region?

According to Woosley et al (1), there are approximately 56.6° degrees of motion observed at the lumbar spine available in this forward bending, flexion pattern. What happens if both your hamstrings and your erector spinae are overstretched?

All in the name of reducing tension in your hamstrings!

Standards of the Toe Touch

There are varying degrees of standards within the toe touch, depending on which “camp” you find yourself agreeing with most recently.

For our purposes here, I’m going to go with three varying categories of the toe touch along with how to interpret them below.

Did Not Touch

Toe Touch - Did not touch Floor - DN

Touch Toes

Toe Touch - FN

Palms On Floor
Toe Touch - DN

[As a disclaimer, with some of you, there may be a radiating sensation, up or down the leg or lumbar region when you go to bend down and touch your toes. If this describes you, I’d highly recommend seeking out a qualified movement specialist as the following info might not be applicable in your case. The reason for this is because there are tons of different reasons you may be feeling sensations, and I’d like to keep pain out of this discourse.]

Mechanisms of Forward Bending Flexion

Well the key here is learning how to interpret what information you have available to yourself. Overall, the toe touch goes over these facets of movement:

  • Determines hamstring length (at face value of course!)
  • Ability to flex at the lumbar spine
  • Ability to flex at the thoracic spine
  • Ability to flex at the cervical spine
  • Pelvic orientation (anterior pelvic tilt vs posterior pelvic tilt)
    • Ability for the femurs to glide posteriorly into the acetabulum during descent of toe touch
  • State of Central Nervous System (Sympathetic vs Parasympathetically driven at time of assessment)

Faults Found in the Toe Touch

If you fall into the first category, let’s look at a few things – where exactly do your curves (in the sagittal plane) fall and rise? Essentially, be mindful of these attributes within your toe touch pattern.

Category One: Did Not Touch Toes

Lack of Cervical and Thoracic Flexion

If you can’t flex at your cervical or thoracic region, it might be safe to assume that your breathing patterns aren’t optimized. The reasons for a lack of mobility at the joint level of your cervical and/or thoracic spine might be due to adaptations of some sort, traumatic injury, or something else altogether.

I’d recommend checking in with a physical therapist in order to make sure all the details are in order.

Check out Clinical Athlete to find a well respected physical therapist near you today.

Lack of Lumbar Flexion

Before people jump on the phrase “lumbar flexion”, keep these two points in mind:

  • This is unloaded lumbar flexion. No barbells attached to the back.
  • Lumbar flexion AWAY from lumbar extension (towards neutrality) is different then pushing the end range of motion for lumbar flexion.

If you’re stuck into lumbar extension, you can be stuck for a few reasons (trauma, behavior, daily activities like standing all day, etc).

However, when you’re in lumbar extension, you may not be utilizing your obliques to the best of their ability.

Ideally, you’ll need better and more efficient control of the internal and external obliques, as they provide the action of posterior tilting the pelvis, which will hopefully provide enough of the “action” of lumbar flexion.

Abdominal Obliquables

Functional and Neurological Muscle Quality

From a systemic, functional, and neurological point of view, there are multiple factors to keep in mind.

Janda noted that the tonic system muscles are prone to tightness or shortness, and the phasic system muscles are prone to weakness or inhibition. (2)

Gray Cook discusses how the idea is to not increase hamstring length within the toe touch pattern, but to simply allow the brain to return to a normal flexion based pattern. In other words, he doesn’t stretch you to restore your toe touch – there is a neural, or brain-related, pattern that needs to be restored through specific exercises.

If you’re going to add the length, you better know where to add the strength (stability). ~Gray Cook

One thing to keep in mind, is that whenever you stretch a muscle, you are driving an inhibition signal to the motor units, which relaxes your muscle group further.

If all you do is inhibit your hamstrings, and then you decide to stretch FURTHER, then what is it that you’re really stretching? Also, where is the stability coming from whenever you deadlift?

“But I’m always feeling tight in my hamstrings!”

Well there is more than one reason for feeling “tight” – it could relate to two or three things:

Lack of Tissue Length

This is often due to chronic shortness brought about by frequent activity, or repetitive motion (so the body adapts).

Neural Protection

If, according to the Joint by Joint Approach, a joint above or below the tight sensation is felt, then it can be assumed that there is a neural protection in place to prevent the joint from moving excessively. For example, if your hamstrings feel tight, but your lower back is moving excessively for whatever reason (lack of anterior core strength, excessive mobility about the lumbar spine), then it is a safe assumption that the hamstrings are on “protect” mode. If your hamstrings were to be mobile in this situation, you might lose that extra stability gained from this protective tension!

Trigger Points

While this can be clumped under the neural protection category, the idea is that there are indications of trigger points that can be in place to also hold you in place. According to DeLany and Chaitow, these trigger points can provide a sense of stability for the body to adhere to, so it might not make the most sense to go smashing these trigger points and releasing everything all willy nilly.

Sympathetic vs Parasympathetic Neural Drive

This is an all encompassing reason, but at the same time it is possibly one of the bigger drivers for “tight hamstrings”.

This is a concept that I have borrowed with much success from the folks at the Postural Restoration Institute – that is, the idea that the autonomic nervous system can present various postures based on varying compensation strategies. The biomechanical reasoning that can be used is if the nervous system is highly sympathetic, the body will reflect this within varying compensatory strategies – often by tipping forward the pelvis, along with “living” in a state of inhalation reflected within the chest cavity and ribs.

So if the body is compensating in such a manner, on a neuromuscular level these hamstrings can be tight for these reasons:

  • Your hamstrings (semimembranosus and -tendinosus, along with biceps femoris) attach to the ischial tuberosity, which control the head of your femur.
  • Your femur sits within a singular hemi-pelvis.
  • If your femur is sitting within the acetabulum in a compensatory position (anterior pelvic tilt), this will cause your external rotators and hip extensors (hamstrings) to stabilize your femurs, for fear of anteriorly gliding forward.
  • If the external rotators are turned on, the internal rotators are inhibited, by cause of agonist and antagonistic properties.

This pattern causes the abdominal muscles to be weak – specifically the internal obliques, and transverse abdominis. If this is the case as well, it can be assumed that there will be an excessive rib flare, which feeds this pattern forward, resulting in the chest to look constantly “puffed out”, or in many cases, the ribs will present in a constant state of inhalation.

Category Two: Touch Toes

This is an ideal scenario, and depending on if you feel tightness anywhere in particular, that could just be residual stiffness from lifting, sitting, or just generally doing a bit too much or a bit too little.

In all actuality, a little warming up and some dynamic movements will get you back on the ball towards moving well.

Category Three: Palms on the Floor

Now you have gone and did it – you’ve gone past your natural limits! There is no turning back now. Hypermobility may be acquired or congenital, and this is one of the tests seen with hypermobile folk.


Depending on whether you present in extension or not when you go to touch your toes, there may be ligamentous instabilities, or anterior hip instabilities that were once there and now not present. Somewhere down the line, you need to recreate this stability, but in the form of muscular stability.

To restore these patterns, we can begin with a basic 90-90 Hip Lift and 90-90 Hip Lift with Internal Rotation.

 Within all three of these categories, none of the solutions involve actually stretching your hamstrings.

Reason being? There is a quality not talked about enough, but it is beginning to gain traction in the fitness and S&C community called “neutrality”. Essentially, this begins to explain what it means to have a joint within the centered position of a socket. If you are stretching due to tightness, you could be tight due to your lack of neutrality. So, get neutral first, then stretch if you are missing length or want to gain sarcomere length due to a shortness.

…And with that transgression under our belts, it should start to make sense as to why you feel tight in your hamstrings when you go to reach your toes.

Long story short, here is a flow chart that I created dissecting the basic results seen with a toe touch, and how to start on an action plan towards improving your toe touch.

–> Click Below to See a Toe Touch Flowchart <–

Reaching Your Toes Without Stretching Your Hamstrings

“How is this possible?” you may ask.

Whenever you flex at the hip, your body does a few things :

  • The femur glides posteriorly into your acetabulum, allowing your femur to flex, ideally up to 90° of hip flexion.
  • If you’re centrated, the movement should simply rotate.
  • However, if you are not within a neutral state of mind, you’re going to have to do some work.
New York State of Mind
“Nothing’s equivalent to a Neutral State of Mind”

If you cannot achieve this level of hip flexion, it can be assumed that you are in excessive hip extension, so you will need to restore these levels of hip flexion. If your femurs can’t glide posteriorly (because of excessive hip extension), perhaps some posterior hip capsule mobilizations will help facilitate that process.

Accompanying the movement patterns of hip flexion involve hip internal rotation (not the same thing as genu valgum, or knees caving in). So with this in mind, you need to understand that sometimes hip internal rotation is necessary in order to move into a better hip flexion pattern.

“So, if you can’t flex at the hips, you need to
improve hip internal rotation. Got it.”

It is a secondary reason, but yes, in order to improve your toe touch pattern, it helps to reduce tightness in your posterior hip capsule, improve hip internal rotation, which will help facilitate the appropriate muscles attaching to the femurs to act as hip flexors as you reach down to touch your toes.

After this, you have your whole other half of your body that often goes unaccounted for when you reach for your toes. In all honesty, it is surprising that your upper body isn’t blamed for not being able to touch your toes – the length of your arm reach is likewise just as important as the integrity of your hip musculature.

“What happens if you can’t reach with your arms?”

Well, perhaps you are not fully exhaling within your capability.

“How do my arms and my reach matter? My hamstrings are the issue.”

Again, I’m glad you asked.

I’ll give you this anecdotal example for you to try:

1. Puff out your chest, and have an excessive rib flare.
2. Go feet together, and bend down to touch your toes, with your ribs still flaring out.
3. Did you touch your toes?

Most likely not.

If one large area (such as the thoracic junction) is excessively extended forward, you will be unable to improve your toe touch reach.

[Check this out in order to fully appreciate how to troubleshoot your breathing patterns.]

Is This The End?

Touching your toes is a multi-faceted movement pattern that has many items that can go very right – or very wrong. If you have any issues with troubleshooting this on your own, I fully recommend seeing a movement minded professional, or at the very least a medical professional who can help refer you out.

On the other hand, if you saw improvements immediately, I’d love to hear about your success. Just drop me an e-mail, or comment on the accompanying social media posts!

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As always,

Keep it funky.

1 – Sahrmann’s Movement Impairment Syndromes
2 – Janda Philosophy – The Janda Approach


A Systemic Approach Towards Improving Range of Motion

The first part of this quasi-series began by glossing over the broad strokes that a holistic approach would partake with regards to enhancing performance.

To dial in towards a specific topic that I have an interest in, I’d like to outline my own thought process towards achieving more range of motion and ultimately a “problem” and “solution” towards why you may feel tight.

The Nervous System and Muscular “Tightness”

How can you measure your nervous system’s “goop”?

Is the autonomic nervous system (ANS) some goop found in your brain that regulates functions on a reflexive level?


Luckily for us, there are different ways to indirectly measure the state of our nervous system, mainly coming down to Heart Rate Variability, which can reflect various biological markers such as recovery of heart rate and heart rate recovery, along with different postural assessments that can reflect a snapshot of your nervous system in a physical form.

Specifically for athletes, dancers, and regular gym goers alike, the nervous system can be modified either positively or negatively, with regards to enhancing performance.

Por ejemplo, if you travel all day and then go off to perform for an hour or two, then travel back that same day, I’d argue that would be a negative stimulus to your body. On the opposite hand, if you sleep for 10+ hours, eat well, and get plenty of hydration, and then do some dynamic warm-up exercises, that could be a positive stimulus to making you perform better and ultimately feeling better.

So enhancing performance can subdivide into several groups of qualities: improving power, strength, speed, along with acquiring a greater range of motion with the desired effect of improving performance (with the opposite restricting movement). Range of motion at least in my eyes, is referring to both the active and passive ranges about a joint’s movement pattern (take hip internal rotation as you descend into a squatting motion, for example).

So, where am I going with all of this?

For the purposes of this article, I’ll be going through the mechanisms and solutions to muscular “tightness” and range of motion.

Mechanisms for Subjective Feelings of “Tightness”

Both the nervous system and muscular system have influences on why you may be experiencing limited ranges of motion about a joint. To digress to a specific example, with the dancing community, the hip and achieving a split (or the abduction of the femurs) seems to be the standard, yet many do not go about it in the safest and most efficient manner possible.


So, there are a few potential reasons why you may feel tight:

  • Acute activity (Which can be explained via tone of the nervous system)
  • Quality of Muscle (Short vs Stiff)

To elaborate further, the time after an acute activity will exhibit a specific tonicity, or passive muscular tension, after the [offending] activity is performed. For example, if you go running, you might feel tight in your calves and hamstrings, depending on your stride of course. Or, if you like to dance, you might do something more along the lines of this:


These movements can bring about tightness in varying parts of the body.

In this dancer’s case, there may be feelings of tightness in the neck (with rotation and flexion), shoulders (with internal rotation and adduction), and the inside of the hips (or adductor tightness).


With regards to dancing, crashing your body and spinning sends a signal to your brain to “protect” and prevent this motion from overreaching and causing any severe damage. So, the next time your body is more prepared to handle the forces that the body is experiencing when you dance (or lift, or sprint, or etc…).

If there were a continuum to explain this better, it would look something like this:

Parasympathetic < ————————————————-> Sympathetic

Fancy, right?

Well, if you continue to dance (or run, lift, sprint, play hockey/baseball/insert sport), and continue to crash your body into the ground, and continue to push the limits of what the human body can handle (let’s be honest, we are dancing and rivaling what gymnasts are doing), where do you think the body will end up from a nervous system point of view? Where will this activity drive the state of your nervous system?

That’s what you get for running.

It is my belief that the body will experience a surge of sympathetic related feedback – increase in all stress related hormones to reduce the “pains” of dancing, increase in postural demands that the body can experience, increase in respiratory rates, which can lead to increased heart rate, and so on and so forth. Long story short, it isn’t the best thing to always be in such a sympathetically driven state. You need to chill, bro.


The solution that I have been taking to shift myself and the dancers I work with is multi-faceted, and one aspect involves providing a positive stimulus that will reduce the sympathetic tone that the body has presented. This will ultimately guide your nervous system to relax.

  • Perhaps providing slight tension on a muscle bed will help to calm any muscular tension that you may be experiencing.
  • Or perhaps trying any of these breathing exercises that you might have read me write about very recently will help to effectively shift you out of a sympathetic state into a parasympathetic state.
  • Or even more extrapolated, perhaps a nice long walk on the beach will provide a better parasympathetic stimulus to your body, enough for you to relax and feel less tense!


Interestingly enough, these things can help reduce tension systemically, albeit temporarily.

Muscular Tightness: Short vs Stiff

With regards to muscular tightness, there are two avenues available:


Overcoming stiffness in a muscle can be demonstrated by adding an external load during a movement pattern in which the muscle is being tested.

One example that has been used in the past is adding a weight to a squatting pattern to differentiate between stiffness and shortness in the hip flexors. Stiffness will allow the femurs to reach a lower level than before, due to the force transfer of the hip flexors acting on the femurs.


So how would you know if you have shortness in your muscle quality or not?

Difficult question for sure – that is, unless you get assessed by an experienced therapist, coach, or trainer.

But at the end of the day, many people will present in several common areas that are often presented as tight, but no one really addresses this issue. Generally, everyone knows stretches for their hamstrings, quads, and maybe arm stretches. Unfortunately for these individuals, there are more muscles that can present as “short” that would require varying stretches to “hit” these “tight muscles”.

On the opposite hand, the posterior muscles of the hip (glutes), along with the latissimus dorsi are neglected muscle groups that don’t get the attention that they deserve.

…To take that next step, what if your lat dominance is causing you to have tight hips or anterior pelvic tilt?


I know, my brain asploded the first time this was postulated to me as well.

In any case, it is my belief that stretching should be the last thing almost anyone should do – that is, if you haven’t taken care of the quality of your nervous system, or the quality of your muscle tissue (before you go on stretching it).

Why is that?

Well, stretching is the devil.

All joking aside, stretching has a few caveats that should be taken into consideration before doing it:

Stretching has been known to have acute negative changes in force production if done prior to exercise or activity.

How? It provides an inhibitory (or reduction-like) affect to the muscle bed at hand.

So if you stretch your hamstrings and adductors before you start doing flares and windmills, you are being counterproductive towards your efforts – you are in fact, making yourself less powerful for your power moves. How is that for counter-intuitive?

So Where Does This Leave Us?

I wouldn’t be much of a writer if I didn’t leave you with an action plan, now would I?

Well, luckily for you, I do have one.

But there’s a catch – I’ll outline the general ideas, but the specific steps will be outlined in my upcoming e-book (which will be free mind you), Unlocking Rotational Power.

So, these steps involve:

  1. Assessing for Postural Demands
  2. Exercises to Reduce Sympathetic Tone (Purposeful Breathing Exercises)
  3. Exercises to Reduce Muscular Tone (Foam Rolling and Self-Myofascial Release)
  4. Inhibition Exercises (Stretches)
  5. Stability Exercises (To reinforce any joints that need subsequent stability due to the inhibitory drive from all of the above exercises)

The fifth point is one that is something you might see other trainers and coaches write about – in which performing a stability exercise will provide enough of a stimulus in order to override any lack of stability, along with a subsequent increase in range of motion about the joint’s movement pattern. (For example, Dean Somerset comes to mind with his side plank to improve hip internal range of motion “party trick”.)

In any case, this is a lot to digest, so I’m going to open up the comments section if you or anyone has any questions regarding the subject matter above.

As always,

Keep it funky.


Observations in Movement Assessments for Dancers

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to sponsor a table at a dance event (colloquially termed “jams”) Rhythm Spotlight XI that was held by Penn State. During the event, I had the opportunity to perform assessments on a good handful of dancers, and with this being one of the first big jams of the year regionally, I knew I would get hands on a wide variety of dancers.

First of all, I want to say thank you for those who have displayed interest in learning how your own bodies move. I literally could not have done this if no one had volunteered their time to getting assessed. With that being said, after discussing these results with other coaches, trainers, and therapists whose opinions I respect, I feel like I have a better grasp on the information that I gathered now.

Returning to the post…

My goals for assessing these bgirls and bboys were to simply obtain data on a battery of movement assessments and screens. After looking at the information, and coupled with discussions with several colleagues, coaches, and therapists, I feel as if I can make an informed decision, and finally write about the dancers and how they presented.

Explaining to Bboy Domkey the role of the ribcage and how it affects his dance.

Interestingly and maybe not so obvious to the average high school and collegiate athlete, and laypersons, is the fact that there are trends to many of the movements involved with breaking, despite bboys having their own individual “styles” and moves that they “created” in their dance.

State of the Nervous System

For those that are unfamiliar, more and more evidence is shifting towards looking at the role that the nervous system plays on movement dysfunction (weakness), lack of joint centration, and even impingement syndrome. (1, 2) This post is driven home after this past weekend’s seminar on the tenets of the nervous system vs posture and the subsequent chain reaction of increased sympathetic tone.

2014-02-09 15.57.11
PRI’s Cervical-Cranio-Mandibular-Restoration Course @ Endeavor Sports Performance

With this in mind, it is imperative to distinguish that with the movement assessments used, I’m not only checking for a joint’s range of motion, but also determining how sympathetically (think “Fight or Flight”) or parasympathetically (think rest, digestion of food) driven an individual presents.

The athletes I’ve worked with and observed in the past two years have generally presented with an extension based pattern, which leads me to believe that many athletes cannot own their movement in the sagittal plane (which controls initial position). This pattern was no different with the breakers I saw over that particular weekend. With this extension based pattern, I saw a predisposition for lat dominance based movement, which in turn can cause these items:

  1. Rib flare/lack of diaphragmatic control
  2. Lack of glenohumeral internal rotation
  3. Inability to display appropriate shoulder flexion (raising arms overhead)
  4. Cervical neck movement limitations

I can go on with the issues that are possible, but I’d rather discuss the things I saw!

Injuries & Trends

In addition to performing a number of movement assessments, it became evident that many bboys competed in a number of sports growing up – from high school sports to collegiate level. At face value, the varied athleticism certainly pervades the dance itself – and on top of that you can tell those who are “strictly bboys” versus those who have branched out and incorporated their other hobbies and physical sporting interests into the mix as well. This is interesting to me because I believe in a long term athletic development (LTAD) model for youth athletes, and one of the tenants involves being exposed to as many sports and movements as possible, along with having fun with games. I’d be interested to see the development of bboys and bgirls if all they do as a young child is train powermoves. (Perhaps saved for another discussion and time!)

Other sports have their fair share of “trademark injuries” brought about by  – medial elbow pain for baseball pitchers (3), anterior hip pain for hockey players (4), and concussion safety for both football and soccer (5, 6). In this same vein, one of my goals was to have the dancer record any injuries they received as a cause of dancing. Recording past injuries that are a possible cause of dancing is one method of determining a cause of injury.

Windmills are known to cause both hip bruising on the “stabbed” or “catch” side in beginners learning to windmill – this is one example.

Documenting the following, along with identifying chronic soft tissue and nervous system degradation that the movement assessment can identify, will allow me to further identify a cause(s) of possible movement dysfunction and patterned restriction within an individual dancer.

My Observations

To outline a general list of compensations and items that I viewed:

  • 4 out of 11 presented with hypermobility (Thoughts on Hypermobility)
  • 3 out of 11 self-reported with wrist and hand issues (described by the dancers as “tight” wrists)


  • 8 out of 11 presented limited cervical neck rotation

Interestingly, the direction that presented with limited cervical neck rotation also had footwork and powermoves used predominantly in that direction (if a bboy has moves that go primarily in a clockwise direction, they also presented with a limitation in cervical neck rotation to the right – or clockwise).

Cervical Neck Tests
L: Cervical Neck Flexion ; R: Demonstrating Cervical Neck Rotation to the Left

Also, to go on a slight tangent, if the athlete has issues with rotating to one direction with their neck (a frontal plane movement), they will likely have issues flexing at the neck (bringing the chin to the chest – which requires sagittal plane movement).

  • 5 out of 11 presented with < or = 20° of glenohumeral internal rotation
  • On the opposite end of this is the fact that 5/11 bboys also scored 3/3 on the Functional Movement Screen Shoulder Mobility test. (The last bboy out of the 11 assessed had a dislocated AC joint, so his right shoulder was automatically lower in score compared to his left due to injury.)


What Can You Learn From This?

Essentially, I went in with a clean slate for all the dancers, did my best to record data as objectively as I could, and generally had a good time with everyone in the downtime between assessing. With my goals satisfied for the day, I wanted to get across the point to many dancers the importance of proper movement protocols, and that stretching most likely won’t help return their range of motion in shoulder internal range of motion, neck rotation, and/or hamstring length.

Neck and shoulder motion are highly interrelated. (7) If you presented with a limited motion in neck rotation or flexion, it is likely that shoulder function will be limited as well with regards to high performing activities. If you present with a limited glenohumeral internal rotation range of motion, you are more likely to hit end range within the joint’s capsule sooner, which means you could predispose yourself to injury if rotation and capsular tightness are left unchecked. (8)

Further, bboys need to respect the postural demands of the dance, and understand that a large vocabulary of movement outside of the specific realms of breaking are necessary before improving dance-specific qualities. I make this point more evident in Strength Training and Analyzing Performance for Dancers about developing a large foundation for movement capacity.

This is imperative as breakers are creating a lifestyle and career out of this dance, and if anything I’d like to make a point that longevity in dance will necessitate a more intellectual approach than following older, more traditional models of practice.

Bboys – similar to every other elite athlete – are amazing at owning their compensation patterns.

And, to reiterate an action plan I’ve emphasized in past articles:

  1. Assess the specific individual for movement dysfunction.
  2. Provide movement pattern intervention.
  3. Reinforce the “good” movement pattern with sound training.
  4. Increase movement vocabulary and increase strength levels for increased dance performance.

(If you’d like for me to perform these same movement assessments for your organization or crew, I can be reached at ma[at] or direct e-mail from my “Coaching” tab.)

Further Reading

For more reading on how you can identify and improve your postural and movement assessments, check these articles out:

In the meantime…

Keep it funky.



1 -Page, Phil. “Shoulder muscle imbalance and subacromial impingement syndrome in overhead athletes.” International journal of sports physical therapy 6.1 (2011): 51. (

2 -Moulson, Andrea, and Tim Watson. “A preliminary investigation into the relationship between cervical snags and sympathetic nervous system activity in the upper limbs of an asymptomatic population.” Manual therapy 11.3 (2006): 214-224. (

3 – Timmerman, Laura A., and James R. Andrews. “Undersurface Tear of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in Baseball Players A Newly Recognized Lesion.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine 22.1 (1994): 33-36.

4 – Anderson, Kyle, Sabrina M. Strickland, and Russell Warren. “Hip and groin injuries in athletes.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine 29.4 (2001): 521-533. (

5 – Delaney, J. Scott, and Renata Frankovich. “Head injuries and concussions in soccer.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 15.4 (2005): 216-219.

6 – Delaney, J. Scott, Vishal Puni, and Fabrice Rouah. “Mechanisms of injury for concussions in university football, ice hockey, and soccer: a pilot study.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 16.2 (2006): 162-165.

7 – Woodward, THOMAS W., and THOMAS M. Best. “The painful shoulder: Part I. Clinical evaluation.” American Family Physician 61.10 (2000): 3079-3089.

8 – Myers, Joseph B., et al. “Glenohumeral range of motion deficits and posterior shoulder tightness in throwers with pathologic internal impingement.” The American journal of sports medicine 34.3 (2006): 385-391.