Muscle Strength Scale

Evaluate muscle strength during a physical exam by using the muscle strength scales. Click here for a guide and a downloadable template.

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What is a Muscle Strength Scale?

The muscle strength scale, known better as the Oxford Scale or Medical Research Council Manual Muscle Testing Scale, is used by practitioners to evaluate muscle strength. Also called motor testing, muscle strength grading, and manual muscle testing, this method is part of a patient’s neurological assessment. It helps practitioners identify muscle weakness or neurological disease in patients and aids in differentiating muscle weakness from loss of balance or lack of endurance. Additionally, healthcare professionals can utilize the scale to assess the performance of specific nerves, such as the spinal or ulnar nerve.

To use the muscle strength scale, practitioners pick a muscle group to test and then apply resistance to the chosen muscle group. The practitioner then will grade the muscle’s response against gravity and resistance. Depending on the power exerted, the muscle group can receive a grade from 0 to 5, with 0 being the lowest. Sometimes, practitioners can add half increments to the grades using a (+) plus or (-) minus sign. Here’s a list of some of the muscle groups practitioners usually test:

  • Shoulder abductors
  • Elbow flexors
  • Wrist extensors
  • Wrist flexors
  • Hip abductors
  • Hip adductors
  • Hip flexors
  • Knee flexors
  • Knee extensions
  • Neck flexions
  • Ankle dorsiflexion

Unlike other tests, there is no standardized template available for this particular test. For your benefit and convenience, we’ve created a Muscle Strength Scale template for you to use as a guide, reference, and document to write down your patient’s results. 

In our template, we’ve added the following:

  • Blank spaces for the examination date, patient’s name, and examiner’s name
  • A copy of the scale with the grade and corresponding muscle power description
  • A table where you can write down the muscle groups you will test and their corresponding grades
  • A dedicated section where you can write additional notes or findings

Want a copy of our template? Keep reading below for information on downloading and using our editable muscle strength scale template. 

Printable Muscle Strength Scale

Download this Muscle Strength Scale to assess the muscle strength of your patients.

How does it work? 

Step One. Download the Template

To get a copy of our printable muscle strength scale template, you can do either of the following:

  • Clicking the “Use this Template” or “Download Template” button above
  • Search for the “Muscle Strength Scale” in Carepatron’s template library on our website or app

Step Two: Conduct the Test and Record the Results

Complete the necessary basic information and record the muscle groups you intend to evaluate in the provided table within the template. Afterward, conduct the test by having your patient contract the muscle first for grade 0. Once they pass, you can do tests to check if they fall under the other grades. 

Remember to record the results immediately after receiving a grade for the muscle group to prevent confusion or forgetfulness. Before conducting the test, check the patient’s muscle for any bulkiness and remove clothing that may restrict movement or cover the tested muscles. You should also isolate the joint muscle to be tested as much as possible.

Step Three. Proceed with Further Testing

If the patient receives a low score and you suspect that there’s a lesion, deformity, etc., it’s best to proceed with further testing before formulating a diagnosis or treatment plan.

Muscle Strength Scale Example (Sample)

We have prepared a sample PDF version of a completed Muscle Strength Scale template for your reference. This example aims to provide you with an understanding of the appearance and structure of the assessment once it is filled out.

For an offline copy you can use as a reference in the future, click the sample below or click the “Download Example PDF” button above.

Download this Muscle Strength Scale Example (Sample) here:

Muscle Strength Scale Example (Sample)

When would you use this Template?

Practitioners can use this muscle strength template when patients express concerns about muscle weakness. Most of the time, these patients have a brain or spinal cord injury,  experienced a stroke, or have cervical/lumbar radiculopathy, neuropathy, or other neurological problems. 

Aside from the aforementioned patients, practitioners may also use the muscle strength scale on the following:

  • Elderly patients who have issues with gait or balance
  • Patients who had their joints replaced
  • Patients who are undergoing rehabilitation due to a sports injury
  • Patients who obtained high scores or percentages in falls risk assessments


Easy to Perform

Due to the test's simplicity, clear grading system, and reliance on the practitioner's observation, it is relatively straightforward for healthcare professionals to conduct.

Saves Money

Compared to other tests, the muscle strength scale requires no equipment. So you can save money while getting reliable results. Moreover, our template, which comes with the grading scale and a dedicated space to record results, is free.

Written Copies for Reference

As mentioned, this test doesn’t come with a template.To prevent the risk of forgetting the results and to facilitate effortless sharing of the document, our free muscle stretch scales template can serve as a written reference that you and other relevant parties can refer back to repeatedly.

Fully Digital and Accessible

Our template is fully digital. You can easily edit the document on Carepatron or any local PDF editor. Furthermore, if you edit on Carepatron, you can make the results accessible to relevant parties by giving them limited viewing access.

Research & Evidence 

Several practitioners say that the muscle strength scale is a reliable test that fellow practitioners can use and benefit from.

In a comprehensive review conducted by Cuthbert and Goodheart Jr (2007) that examined 100 studies on Muscle Strength Testing (MMT) and its application in the chiropractic technique known as applied kinesiology (AK), they found that the scale demonstrated reliability and validity for patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. The authors further concluded that the test holds clinical utility and can be effectively utilized by practitioners such as chiropractors, physical therapists, and neurologists.

In contrast, Naqvi and Sherman note that although the muscle strength scale has its limitations, it remains widely accepted and implemented across various settings. Additionally, it does not necessitate specialized equipment and exhibits a reasonable level of consistency in results between different raters.

Moreover, following the utilization of the muscle strength scale, healthcare practitioners always retain the flexibility to administer additional tests if deemed necessary.

Commonly asked questions

Who uses Muscle Strength Scales?

Practitioners who use muscle strength scales are physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, and chiropractors. But they are most especially beneficial to physical therapists.

What does Muscle Strength Scale assess?

The Muscle Strength scale assesses a patient’s muscle weakness.

How do you store Muscle Strength Scales?

You can store your document by printing it and placing it in a dedicated drawer or right on Carepatron.

Why use Carepatron as your Muscle Strength app?

In addition to serving as an app that provides guides and templates for the muscle strength scale, Carepatron is also a top-tier practice management software solution. It is designed to streamline processes and automate tasks, offering comprehensive support for healthcare practitioners.

Utilize our software’s features beyond editing the muscle strength scale to carry out your administrative responsibilities. That way, most of your time, effort, and focus will go toward patient care. 

Download Carepatron on your desktop or iOs/Android mobile devices, and you’ll have access to the following tools and resources for free:

  • Various downloadable, digitally editable, and printable templates in PDF form. You can choose from medical resources: forms, surveys, tests, and assessments. You can even create your own templates and notes for documentation purposes if you can’t find what you need. 
  • A HIPAA-compliant, secure EHR system for all your client’s medical records and your digital notes.
  • Multiple integrations to aid you with telecommunication and scheduling 
  • An automated payment system you can set up for your client 

Get access to these and more by signing up on Carepatron today!

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Cuthbert, S., & Goodheart, G. (2007). On the reliability and validity of manual muscle testing: a literature review. Chiropractic &Amp; Osteopathy, 15(1). doi: 10.1186/1746-1340-15-4

Naqvi, U., & Sherman, A. (2022). Muscle Strength Grading. Statpearls Publishing. Retrieved from

Who uses Muscle Strength Scales?
Who uses Muscle Strength Scales?
Written by
Patricia Buenaventura
Patricia Buenaventura

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