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Do You Have Tight Hamstrings?

Do you have tight hamstrings? They may be tight for many reasons. One cause we see of is the inability to coordinate appropriate hip flexion through an active straight leg raise (ASLR). This test may seem simple but it helps your FMS provider identify your challenges related to this movement. The ASLR screens for hip mobility in hip flexion on the side that the leg moves. It also screens the stability and available hip extension in the non-moving leg.

“Whoop-de-doo , what does it all mean Basil?”


This test is less about hip flexion and tight hamstrings but more about the ability to separate the lower extremities in an unloaded position. We often think hamstring limitations are the culprit in this movement yet muscles such as gluteus maximus, iliotibial band (IT Band), and iliopsoas play a significant role in hip flexion/extension.

Here’s a video on the active straight leg raise.

Active Straight Leg Raise FMS Grand Junction

ImplicatioActive Straight Leg Raisens of a low Active Straight-Leg Raise Score

  • The client has inadequate mobility of the opposite hip. This is associated with limited hip extension.
  • Poor functional hamstring flexibility in the moving leg
  • Pelvic control is insufficient for the execution of the straight leg raise
  • A combination of these factors are present when the client has relative bilateral and asymmetric hip mobility
    • When the pattern is correct, the non-moving limb exhibits stability (an automatic task) and the moving limb exhibits mobility (a conscious task).

FMS AlgorithmActive Straight Leg Raise

FMS has designed an algorithm to make it easier to identify the weak links. It also helps the provider know where to start when it comes to corrective exercises. Their algorithm starts with the tests that deal with mobility first because stability/motor control cannot be present with reduced mobility. Active Straight Leg Raise is the first test in the algorithm. When there is a weak link in ASLR we stop there and start corrective exercises to improve this critical movement.

Mobility first, Static Motor Control second, and Dynamic Motor Control third

Similar to the FMS Algorithm, we believe there is an ideal sequence to perfecting and correcting movement patterns.  It all begins with optimal mobility. The reason is quality stability is driven by quality proprioception and is not possible with limited mobility. Once you have good mobility, you’ll start to train stability and motor control. You start with static stability and motor control first. This is based on proper coordination and reflexes not ‘strength’. Once you gain static stability, you will progress to dynamic stability and motor control. To learn more, read this article discussing one of Gray Cook’s movement principles (Principle 4: Movement learning and re-learning has hierarchies that are fundamental to the development of perception and behavior) presented in his book, Movement.

Schedule your Functional Movement Screen today!

Please call the office at 970-712-6059 to schedule your Functional Movement Screen with either Dr. Christianson or Alyssa.

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