Strength tests can be incredibly reassuring to those suffering from muscle twitching anxiety.

Are you unable to get through the day without worrying dozens of times that you have ALS?

Was this intense anxiety set off by what began as an annoying muscle twitching in one part of your body, and it got so bothersome you finally googled “cause of muscle twitches”?

And you saw the ALS sites in the search results?

And since then, the muscle twitching has “spread” throughout your body?

You’re here because you read that ALS causes weakness. Fearing you might have ALS, you’ve decided to conduct some strength tests.

For some people, strength tests are reassuring that they still have their strength. For others, strength tests set off the panic alarm—because they believe they’ve failed them.

But why did you fail the strength tests?

Is it because you’re in the early stages of ALS? Or…(and far more likely) is it because you gave yourself an unfair strength test? Like some funky balancing act?

Think about this. If the twitching muscles are in your leg, you will want to test the strength of your leg.

If you don’t have a previous reference point, then the test will be all the more unnerving.

However, if you’ve been, for instance, leg pressing a certain amount of weight at the gym, you can use this as a reference point.


An unfair strength test is one that requires a degree of coordination and other physical factors that you have not been previously trained to master.

An example would be trying to get out of a chair with just one leg with no help from your hands, especially if your hips are lower than your knee while seated.

Unless you’re an athlete or are very physically fit, you’re going to flop—big-time.

You must choose tests that are based on easy movements, but that can be modified to gauge whether or not you have lost strength.

So for instance, let’s say you normally do the walking lunge for the length of a particular area of your health club—holding a small dumbbell in each hand.


A strength test could be first doing this as you normally do, and seeing if you can complete it.

If you can, you’ve passed the strength test, because if your leg has atrophied, you would have immediately experienced a deficit in this routine that your normally do.

For added reassurance, use heavier weights or double the distance. Since you normally don’t do this, expect faster fatigue, but the fact that you can get through it should be reassuring that your twitching muscles are benign.

Same with upper body concerns. If you normally do lat pull-downs with 105 pounds, then try that. If you can still do 105, what are you worried about?

But what about people who don’t work out and thus have no reference point?

As a fitness expert, I have the perfect solution. Start a workout program. It doesn’t have to be extensive. Just pick some basic exercises for the body part that’s been twitching.

If the twitching is in most muscles, select exercises that work various body parts.

You may want to choose pushups and overhead presses for the upper body, and bodyweight-only squats and jumping for the lower body.

These moves can be performed in your living room without any equipment other than a pair of dumbbells for the overhead presses.

The idea is to see if you can progress from your starting point, even if it’s a half-baked knee pushup or a wobbly leg-switching jump.

An untrained person will tire quickly with bodyweight squats. Keep track of how many you can do. Work on increasing the number of repetitions.

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  • After two weeks, is there improvement?
  • Are you better at pushups?
  • Can you actually do a few lunge jumps?
  • Has your number of squat reps gone up?
  • Are you able to add a jump to that squat?

How about combining a few of these, say, squat jump immediately to a pushup?

In other words, IS THERE PROGRESSION with your new exercise program?

If so, this hardly points to atrophy or weakness.

Avoid strength tests that are funky, such as having someone stronger than you screw a jar lid on as tightly as possible and then you trying to unscrew it. You have no reference point unless you played this game before you googled “twitching muscles.”

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



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