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Are you hyper-mobile?

Are you hyper-mobile?

Researchers typically use the following questions to identify hyper-mobility. If you answer yes to at least two, you're affected to some degree. The more affirmatives you rack up, the more serious your condition and the more you might consider seeing a physical therapist for treatment.

1. Are you double-jointed?
Yes
No
2. Can you now (or could you ever) place your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees?
Yes
No
3. Do your knees lock when you stand up straight?
Yes
No
4. Can you now (or could you ever) bend your thumb down to touch your forearm?
Yes
No
5. Do you often experience joint tenderness or swelling after intense or high-impact exercise?
Yes
No
6. As a child, could you do the splits?
Yes
No
7. As a child or teenager, did you dislocate your shoulder or kneecap more than once?
Yes
No
How to train if you're hyper-mobile:

Be wary of yoga, since it further increases joint mobility, Deer says. Focus your practice on stability-forward poses, like Chair and Warrior III—not those that demand a ton of flexibility, like Wheel pose and other backbends. 

Static stretching (as opposed to dynamic warm-ups) is a no-go in the affected joints. “When hyper-mobile people do feel tight, they should opt for massage or foam rolling, which works on the tissues without stretching the joints,” Deer suggests. 

When lifting, never use weights that make you fatigue before the sixth rep, he adds. Stick to loads and rep ranges that support hypertrophy and endurance (between 6 and 20 reps per set) rather than pure strength. And skip advanced plyometric exercises like box jumps, which can put a dangerous amount of stress on the joints. 

Consider working with a personal trainer who can monitor your form and keep you from overextending your joints. Hyper-mobile people have a difficult time sensing this on their own since moving into such an extreme range of motion feels completely natural to them. 

Incorporate controlled and isometric exercises into every workout to build stability. Deer suggests planks, dead bugs, bird dogs, and slow bear crawls, which give you the opportunity to feel and sense your joints’ positions and master proper form.

Photo: Bersa / Art Partner Licensing