A Simple Movement Test For Those With Spondy’s (Video)

In our latest spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis exercise video below I discuss a simple, yet effective test that you can try called the toe touch.

This test looks at your body’s ability to demonstrate motor control during a particular movement.  Motor control is basically a combination of timing, stabilization and coordination. Your nervous system aids in motor control and if you have poor movement quality or motor control you may struggle with this test.

This particular test looks at movement from the hips, low back, core and lower body and it is only one of many different ways to observe a particular movement.

If you currently suffer from spondy pain or a grade 3 or 4 spondy this test may not be for you.  Your pain will immediately limit your movement.  As always we recommend consulting with your doctor before trying any new movements. We highly encourage you to watch the ENTIRE video before attempting. 

The Toe Touch Test

To Perform The Toe Touch…

1. Start with your feet almost touching

2.Keeping the legs straight, but not aggressively locked bend over and attempt to touch your toes.

3. Do not compensate by bending your knees. Hold briefly and return to an upright position.

If you do find pain or the inability to touch your toes do not worry. You have perhaps found an issue with your movement.

Below are a few important notes to remember about this video.


  • To improve your chances of moving and feeling better it is important to develop a solid foundation of movement BEFORE attempting exercises to help with your spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis.
  • With poor movement (motor control, etc.) present attempting to use exercise and stretching as a form of rehab becomes harder and even riskier due to compensations that may take place during movement.
  • Just because you cannot touch your toes does not mean you have tight hamstrings. It may be your brain sensing an issue with your movement and putting on the brakes. The hamstrings then lock up as a defense mechanism.

If you are able to touch your toes it does not mean you have perfect movement. It only means you demonstrate quality movement with this particular test. As always, we recommend visiting our spondy toolbox page and searching for a rehab professional near you that can administer a movement screen on your entire body to help determine the possible causes and solutions to your movement issues.

Hopefully this video will help to open your eyes about movement and how poor movement may be affecting you.

I am curious to know how this test goes for you. Comment below to let us know.

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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Atef Badran
    4 years ago

    I just 5 cm to touch my toes. Do I need exercise to stretch my hamstring muscles. Could walking help.

    • Spondy
      4 years ago

      Hello Atef,

      As I stated in the video and blog post, just because you are unable to touch your toes does not necessarily mean you have tight hamstrings. Often times, when improper movement is present the brain may send a warning and areas such as the hamstrings might sense something is wrong during movement. In an attempt to protect or prevent further issues they tighten up or “put on the brakes”. This presents the feeling of tightness. There are multiple reasons this could happen. Poor core control or stability, poor hip range of motion, previous injuries, etc. Since there really is no way for me to determine what the issue may be with you as in individual (since I cannot physically see how you move) your best bet would be to visit a rehab professional and have them perform some kind of movement screen to determine what issues you may be having. They will also help you come up with a plan to correct them. We list a few of our favorite screening methods on our “spondy toolbox” page (https://spondyinfo.com/helpful-spondy-resources/) and we also provide links to help you find a professional near you. As far as walking goes, it probably will not help this specific issue. Walking is a great way to get the circulation of blood flow moving and help with recovery but rarely does it help to improve range of motion to the extent of improving certain “tests” such as this one. Hopefully this answer makes sense. Just let us know if you have any further questions!

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