Muscle and Biomechanics Testing
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Muscle and Biomechanics testing pageMUSCLE TESTING

Muscle testing is an important part of assessing the cause of muscle and joint pain. Since our muscles do not work individually but rather as groups, healthy muscles will jump in to compensate for hurt muscles. The dysfunctional patterns that can evolve due to compensating may become complex. To help sort out the complexity and assess which muscles are hurt and which muscles are doing the compensating, we use muscle testing.

Testing a muscle is simply directing the client to perform a movement that best isolates the muscle we wish to test. The therapist will apply light resistance to the body part involved in the movement and then assess the client’s ability to perform the movement against the resistance.

Our bodies and minds are artful enablers, so without even realizing it, our brain and muscles will recruit help to assist an otherwise “weak test” of an isolated muscle. Isolating and “reading” the muscle test is an art as well as a science and requires experience to effectively master.


Once a muscle dysfunction has set it, observing a client’s posture or movements may help assess the problem. Biomechanics are best described as movement patterns and symmetries within the body. One shoulder presenting higher than the other or running knock-kneed are examples of biomechanics red flags. Correctly observing asymmetries begins the process of unraveling the dysfunctional movement patterns that are causing pain and sub-optimal movement performance.