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Were you considered ‘clumsy’ as a child or did you have poor coordination? But can you easily get into pretzel shapes in yoga class? And is your party piece the box splits?

If so, you may have pronounced ligamentous laxity called Joint Hypermobility Syndrome. Particularly in early childhood, the joint instability present due to excessive musculoskeletal flexibility in hypermobile joints impairs proprioception- the sense of where your limbs are in space (Adib et al 2005).

It is proven that people with benign joint hypermobility syndrome (rather than hyper-mobility caused by injury or other pathology) have significantly less proprioception in their lower limbs (2013 Smith et al) and may also have less control over their shoulders.

So whilst you may enjoy an elastic freedom of movement, you may end up tripping over your feet! You may, for example, frequently twist your ankle or have your knees buckle underneath you. It won’t be as easy for you to tell where your legs are before they make contact with the ground. And sports like skiing might prove hazardous!

If you suffer from a pathology like EDS Type III, you will have significantly larger ranges of movement than the norm (Rombaut et al 2010) and that is likely to mean much lower levels of sport physical activity. It is particularly difficult for EDS sufferers to reposition their knee joints readily.

But the good news (from Jindal et al 2016) is that there has been little difference in muscle strength shown between hypermobile and ‘stable’ bodies. His recent study showed that his female hypermobile participants did not show any significant differences in muscle strength compared to his non-hypermobile female participants. His male hypermobile participants, however, did have slightly less isometric muscle strength in both elbow extensors and right knee extensors compared to non-hypermobile male participants.

So if you can get your bendy body and knocking knees set straight on a reformer, there’s little reason not to add weightlifting into your party piece repertoire!

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