Arduua tests for Trail running, Skyrunning and Ultra-trail

Arduua tests for Trail running, Skyrunning and Ultra-trail

We fully believe that to improve something, first you have to measure it and know where it starts. In our Online Coaching program, we always perform certain tests on the runners to ensure that you are in the right ranges of motion, stability, balance and strength.

These tests will give us specific information of mobility, balance and strength to be trained during your training programme in order to create the best conditions for an efficient running technique.

From this 360º vision of the athlete, we can establish an effective training plan that allows us to improve all their capabilities and work specifically on the skills and abilities of their objective careers.

In the end of this article you can find a video that summarizes the tests.

The importance of mobility

The relationship in the flexibility of the athlete and the risk of injuries is something that you as a coach always have to consider.

Even though within scientific literature there are dissenting results in many studies that conclude that greater flexibility does not provide a lower risk of injury, there are also studies which says that the athlete must present some minimum values of flexibility to be within a safe mobility range.

Most of the muscle ratings that Fernando made last year on athletes who came with injuries, sometimes chronic, reflected important muscles with excessive tension, that were located in some key joints for running, outside the safe range. Those shortenings where generating a cropped mobility that overburdened its muscle system with unwanted compensations. In the end they were athletes with limitations and that presented an inadequate running pattern in all its phases.

Obviously, these athletes do need to stretch, not only to gain flexibility but also to keep it once obtained these profits.

Mobility required for Skyrunning

Mobility required is also depending on the sport that you do practise. The recommended mobility of a Skyrunner should be such that it allows the Skyrunner to take advantage of more efficient angles while running on all types of mountain terrains. Therefore, we strive to get the running step as efficient as possible and to be able to work in a natural movement pattern, which also decreases the risk of injury.

A complete Skyrunner should have adequate mobility in several muscle groups and should, for example, be able to:

  1. Absorb and compensate for uneven ground during running.
  2. Be able to pass ground obstacles smoothly without having to lift the centre of gravity unnecessarily high.
  3. Mobility required for steep uphill and downhill running.
  4. Have adequate mobility throughout the movement, so that any stiffness does not cause unnecessary load/damage on exposed places and thereby increase the risk of injury.

Mobility tests

Here are some pictures and explanations from the test session that we did with Snezana Djuric, Serbian Skyrunner Champion.

Ankle mobility test

Why it is important in running to be mobile in this area?

If you do not have enough movement in your ankle (mainly in dorsal flexion), you may have health problems relational with fasciitis plantar, over pronation as well as limitations in your landing and impulsion capacity. Moreover, it may affect to the correct execution of some usual strength exercises like squats.

What is an adequate mobility?

It is important that the knee can advance at least 10 cm in front of the toes without lifting your heel.  It is also important to have similar mobility degrees in both ankles.

How do I do the test?

You can just put your barefoot on a flat surface and advance your knee as much as you can without lifting your heel. Then measure the distance. It may be easier to control the movement and measure the distance doing it in front of a wall. Make sure that your knee advances just in the forward direction.

Do you have at least 10 cm between toe and wall?

Ankle mobility test

Ankle mobility test

How many centimetres do you have between knee and toe?

Squat position test

Can you do this barefoot?

Thomas test for hip extension

Why it is important in running to be mobile in this area?

It is important to obtain an efficient running technique with the best hip mobility angles.

What is an adequate mobility?

This test is used to check if we have some muscles shortenings that may affect to a correct hip mobility in forward direction. We check rectus femoral and psoas iliaco muscles.

How do I do the test?

First, lay down at the edge of a bench with your legs hanging. Secondly, with the help of your hands lift one leg and approach one knee to your chest.

Finally, ask someone to observe the other leg or taking a picture if possible, to see its position and analyse if you may have any shortening problems (11 degrees is good, if knee is above such as the ones showed in the diagrams.

Thomas test for hip extension

Thomas test for hip extension

Can you do this like picture 1?

Active leg raising test (Hamstrings)

Why it is important in running to be mobile in this area?

A Range of reduced movement here are relational with some injuries caused by heavier loads supported by the knee, as well as lumbar pain.

What is an adequate mobility?

Reference values are between 71 and 91 degrees.

How do I do the test?

Lay on the floor and get someone top lift your leg and push it as far as you can keeping the leg straight as showed in the drawing.

If you lift up your leg without support. How many degrees do you have?

Nachlas test (Quadriceps)

Why it is important in running to be mobile in this area?

It is important to obtain an efficient running technique for non-supporting leg during its running pattern.

What is an adequate mobility?

To reach a good mobility, you must be able to touch your glutes with your heel as shown in the picture.

How do I do the test?

Lay face down on the floor and simply lift your leg and try to approach your heel to your glutes as close as possible.

Can you do this heel touching glutes?

Stability and balance tests

Why it is important in running to be mobile in this area?

In these types of tests, we want to check the knee stability while doing different movements with just one leg supporting the body (Natural behaviour when running).

What is an adequate stability/mobility?

The lack of knee alignments ability may be responsible of injuries like problems with iliotibial bands, patellas tendonitis or patellofemoral syndrome. During this exercises or tests, the most important is not getting a value. The most important feedback is about how is your movement and how you keep moving along the test.

In these types of test, we have to check the way of execution in different unipodal exercises. Test like lunges execution, touching the floor with….. or Ybalance test,… are use for this proposal.

How do I do the test?

There are many different tests to check the quality of your movement with just one supporting leg. The main ones I usually used with my athletes are Y-balance test, touching the floor with the opposite hand to the leg supported, or just lunges execution. These exercises are also adequate to train balance skills. Something really important for trail and skyrunning.

Touching the floor with the opposite hand test

Can you this without wobbling?

Stability and alignment knee-hip-ankle test

Can you this without wobbling?

Y-balance test

Can you this without wobbling?


Can you this without wobbling?

One leg balance test

Can you keep this position as Figure 11 with both feet > 30 seconds?

And with your eyes closed?

Strength tests

Frontal plank test

How many seconds can you can keep the position without tremors?

Lateral plank test

How many seconds can you can keep the position without tremors?

Glutes strength test

Walking lunges test

Can you this without wobbling?

Squat high jump test

Can you start in the position of bent knees, keeping the static position 3 seconds before jumping as high as you can with the hands in the hips?

Counter movement jump test

Can you do almost the same move as the same as high squat jump test, but starting stand doing a fast squat to take impulsion and jumping higher?

Squat strength test

How heavy can you do 10 squats without reaching maximum fatigue? (in extra kg’s)? (Indicate a load that you could lift 3 or 4 more repetitions). You can leave this test for the end of the upstart test to avoid fatigue before the jumps.

All the start-up tests in one video

Other muscle shortenings or weaknesses

If you are aware of any other muscle shortenings or weaknesses in strength, of course we have to take that into consideration also.

How to do the tests

You do all the tests described above by videocam yourself and answer all the questions and send it to your Skyrunning Coach for analyse. If you don’t have a coach, we will be glad to help you!

Let us help you with your training

If you need any help with your training or have any questions, please check out our online coaching programs, or send an e-mail to katinka.nyberg@arduua.com.

Team Arduua, from the left: Snezana Djuric – Arduua Frontrunner, Fernando Armisén – Arduua Headcoach, Katinka Nyberg – Arduua Founder.

Support pages

How to: sync Trainingpeaks

How to: use Trainingpeaks with your coach

Why we train differently for Skyrunning

How we train

Arduua tests for skyrunning