Manual Muscle Testing for an Active Population: Upper Body

by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Dr. Brookbush demonstrates a Serratus Anterior Manual Muscle Test with palpation of the inferior angle of the scapula on an athletic female. Serratus Anterior Manual Muscle Test

For an introduction to manual muscle testing (for an active population) including definitions of specific terminology, "why?" manual muscle testing, basic procedures, comparing traditional versus Brookbush Institute recommended scoring, amount of external resistance, what muscles should be tested, length/tension relationships, defining a “good assessment,” and best use check out: Manual Muscle Testing: Introduction

For Lower Body Manual Muscle Testing for an Active Population: Manual Muscle Testing: Lower Body

The intent of this article is to provide a review of common upper body manual muscle tests including technique, test position, definition of a "strong" result, common compensation, over-active synergists, provocative testing and implicated techniques.

Commonly Assessed Upper Body Muscles:

Deep Cervical Flexor Endurance Test (4, 9, 10)

  1. Explain to your patient/client what the assessment entails.
  2. Instruct your patient/client to assume a supine position, with legs in hook-lying position and hands on stomach.
  3. Have your patient lift their head off the table with chin tucked, so that the most posterior aspect of their occiput is 2.5 cm from the table (the width of your 2nd and 3rd fingers.)
  4. Gently adjust your patient/client's head into test position (upper cervical flexion), and place your 2nd and 3rd finger (stacked on top of one another) under the patients occiput
  5. Have your patient/client lift their head just enough to remove the pressure from your fingers, but so that they may still feel your fingers on the