4 Exercises for People With Hypermobility

Did you grow up showing your friends the cool trick where you bent your thumb all the way down to touch your forearm? Combine that with a couple other hyper-flexible joints and you can rightly claim to be hypermobile! But you’re not alone in your hypermobility—it affects about 20 percent of the population.

It’s good to keep in mind that not all flexible people are hypermobile. If you’re curious whether you are, there’s a test called the Beighton Score that’ll give you the answer you’re looking for. If you score 4 or 5 out of 9 points, then you can claim your God-given hyper-flexibility. Here are few tests you can do yourself to see if you fit the mold:

  1. Can you bend your pinky finger back to greater than 90 degrees to your hand?
  2. Can you touch your thumb to your forearm?
  3. Does your elbow bow out greater than 10 degrees?
  4. Do your knees bend back greater than 10 degrees?
  5. Can you easily touch the floor with your knees straight and palms flat on the floor?

Those of us who’ve practiced yoga for years may be quick to put ourselves in the category of hypermobile. But if you weren’t able to do these things prior to starting yoga, then chances are you aren’t truly hypermobile. People with hypermobility are born that way. It’s a disorder of collagen in the body that allows the joints to bend out of shape.

The Need-to-Know Exercises

Hypermobility may be a fun trick as a kid but as you get older hypermobility puts you at much greater risk of joint injury. Fortunately, there are exercises to help strengthen your joints.

These the four need-to-know exercises…


Borrowed from yoga, bridge pose provides an opportunity to build strength in your hips and gluteal muscles, which is important for maintaining proper joint mobility. Lie flat on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent up and feet flat on the floor. You should be able to touch the back of your heels with your fingertips. Slowly lift your hips up as high as you can go. Hold for at least 5 seconds. Advance by squeezing the glute muscles, quads and hamstrings. Or, try lifting your hips with one leg out straight with your knees in alignment. Slowly lower down.

Leg Extensions

Lie on your back with both legs flat on the ground (or one knee bent up for modification). Slowly lift one leg at a time into the air for six seconds. Reach your maximum (the point where you knee no longer stays straight) then lower for six seconds. Repeat five more times. Then do the other side. Focus on using the strength of your hips and lower abs. The opposite side should be strong but not carrying any of the weight of the lift.


Lie on your stomach with your legs and arms outstretched. Lift your legs, arms and upper body to engage your back from the tops of your shoulders to the tops of hips and gluteal muscles. Keep your core engaged to protect your back. Keep your eye gaze down to align your spine. Hold here for 20-30 seconds. Stop if you feel any discomfort in your back.

Sidearm Lift

Lie on your side and lift yourself up onto your forearm. Slowly raise your hips off the floor, pull in your arms and lift the rib cage closest to the ground up and into alignment with the hips. Keep your free arm flat on your side. Maintain core engagement. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat three times. Then do so on the other side.

Bonus Tips

Develop Proprioception

Research shows that hypermobile people lack proprioception. The laxity of the ligaments hinders your ability to sense the joint’s placement within the socket. Where most people can easily sense when they’re overextending a joint it can be difficult for the hypermobile people. The best way to develop proprioception can be through conscious recognition of the tiny muscle groups surrounding each joint. Similar to how signals from the ligaments aid in proprioception, muscles can send messages as well. It has to be a conscious part of your fitness regimen if you’re to develop this sense.

Be Cautious with Stretching

In a review, one physician discovered that people with hypermobility often felt better after stretching despite the worry that it could worsen the condition. If you find stretching alleviates stress and promotes proper functioning of muscles, then, by all means, continue to incorporate it into your fitness routine. But do eliminate stretching as a means to further flexibility. There’s a fine balance between the two that you must be attuned to.

Focus on Concentric Exercises

In concentric exercises, the muscle is contracting and getting shorter. The opposite is eccentric exercises, where the muscle is getting longer. For instance, if you’re doing a bicep curl, the concentric phase occurs when you lift the weight up towards your arm and the eccentric phase occurs when you lower the weight down. Focus more on lifting the weight up than lowering the weight down. This will aid in strengthening your muscles without them getting too long in the process.

Keep these tips in mind next time you’re at the gym or implementing the mentioned exercises. The great thing about these exercises is that they can be done at home. No need to go anywhere to get stronger joints.

Related Stories:

Photo Credit: Stocksnap


Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago


Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

thanks for sharing

Lesa D
Lesa D11 months ago

i was one of those super flexibles!!! double~jointed hips... now they dislocate easily... so i have to be careful... yoga is ESSENTIAL!!!

thank you, Paula...

Clare O
Clare O'Bearaabout a year ago


Anne G
Anne Gabout a year ago

Interesting, never heard this term applied to people who were really flexible before. Learn something new every day.

Katherine May W
Katherine May Williamsabout a year ago

I was diagnosed with hyper mobility a few years ago after I was referred to a physiotherapist for back and chest pain (later diagnosed as costochondritis.) They never really figured out what the best plan of action was, sadly. The pain still comes and goes.

Stephanie s
Stephanie Yabout a year ago

Thank you

Stephanie s
Stephanie Yabout a year ago

Thank you

Winn A
Winn Aabout a year ago


Winn A
Winn Aabout a year ago