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Assess trunk stability with rotational test

By Michael P. Reiman, PT, and Robert C. Manske, PT

  • Purpose: To assess multiplanar trunk stability while a combined upper and lower extremity motion is performed.
  • Equipment: 2 x 6.


1. Position the client in a quadruped position with shoulders and hips at 90° relative to the upper torso. Bilateral knees are positioned at 90° and ankles remain dorsiflexed.

2. Place the 2 x 6 between the knees and hands so that they are in contact with the board.

3. Instruct the client to flex the shoulder and extend the same-side hip and knee (first position).

4. Have the client raise the leg and hand enough to clear the testing surface by approximately 6 in. (15 cm).

5. Ensure that the lifted extremities remain in the same plane as the 2 x 6.

6. Instruct the client to flex the same shoulder and knee so that they touch (second position).

7. Perform the assessment bilaterally for up to three repetitions.

8. If a III is not attained, have the client perform a diagonal pattern using the opposite shoulder and hip in the same manner as already described.


Analysis and Interpretation of Data

Grade Grading criteria (Cook et al. 1998)
  • Client performs one unilateral repetition while keeping torso parallel to board.
  • Knee and elbow touch in line with board.
  • Client performs one diagonal repetition while keeping torso parallel to board.
  • Knee and elbow touch in line with board.
  • Client is unable to perform diagonal repetitions.
  • This score is given if client is unable to attain the correct position and if pain is associated with any portion of the testing.



Refer to the introduction to this section for reliability data.


  • Poor performance during this testing can be attributed simply to poor asymmetric stability of the trunk stabilizers (Cook et al. 1998).
  • According to testing by FMS developers, a score of II indicates mild to moderate limitations with asymmetric trunk stability.
  • When a client scores I or less, severe limitations exist with regard to asymmetric trunk stability.
  • Lumbar flexion should be cleared after this test, even with a score of III. This can be accomplished with a hands-and-knees (quadruped) position and rocking pelvis to heels.
  • For specific suggestions on exercise corrections or additional information, please consult Cook and colleagues (1998) or visit the Web site

This is an excerpt from Functional Testing in Human Performance.

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The above excerpt is from:

Functional Testing in Human Performance

Functional Testing in Human Performance

Functional Testing in Human Performance

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