How To Perform The Upper Quarter Y-Balance Test

assessment Feb 15, 2018

What Is The Upper Quarter Y-Balance Test (UQYBT)?

The Upper Quarter Y Balance Test (UQYBT) was developed as a clinical test for upper extremity function. It involves the patient setting themselves in the push-up position using a tool like The MAT or the Mega MAT and reaching as far as they can in three different directions - medial, superior-lateral, and inferior-lateral whilst maintaining stability and control of their shoulder and core. 

Why Use The UQYBT?

Using the UQYBT requires stability through the opposite upper limb (Amasay, Hall, Shapiro, & Ludwig, 2016) to allow the reaching limb to move as far as it can. It can be used to assess the dynamic stability of the upper extremity and the thoracic spine, including any differences between sides, and can assist in the prediction of shoulder injury risk and whether an athlete is ready to return to play (Amasay et al., 2016).

Additional research has revealed interesting implications when using the UQYBT including:

  • Two studies found there was no difference in UQYBT performance between dominant and non-dominant limbs. This indicates that UQYBT performance may serve as a good measure in return to sport testing when rehabilitating shoulder and arm injuries. (Westrick et al 2012, Gorman et al 2012)

  • The UQYBT is a reliable upper extremity closed kinetic chain test that can be used to assess unilateral upper extremity function in a closed chain manner. The UQYBT appears to be most related to dynamic tests involving core stability and upper extremity performance. (Westrick et al 2012)

  • Clinicians are recommended to test patients in both a fatigued and non-fatigued state for more accurate return to play decision-making and injury risk identification (Salo, & Chaconas)

  • Using a patient’s unaffected side is the most reliable measure of determining any deficits when assessing the affected side (Westrick, Miller, Carow, & Gerber, 2012)

  • The UQYBT may best be implemented in conjunction with other upper limb tests such as the Closed Kinetic Chain Upper Extremity (CKCUET) test in the assessment of athletes (Taylor, Wright, Smoliga, DePew, & Hegedus, 2016)

Are you using the Upper Quarter Y Balance Test (UQYBT) with your patients and clients?

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