Isometric Back Strength Test

The Isometric Back Strength Test is a measure of the strength of the muscles of the lower back, which is important in core stability and for preventing lower back pain. The test involves holding a horizontal position while hanging over the edge of a bench.

purpose: this test measures back muscle strength

equipment required: table top or padded bench, such as found in a weights gym

pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions. Perform an appropriate warm-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.

procedure: Subjects must lie face down on a bench, with their upper body from the waist hanging over the end of the bench. The subject's feet must be held or strapped down, and the arms by their side or clasped behind the back. When ready, they must bring their body up to the horizontal position, and hold this for a set period (e.g. 45 seconds).

scoring: This test will be assessed as a pass or fail.

advantages: this is a simple test to perform, requiring equipment that is readily available.

disadvantages: You are only able to test one person at a time.

variations: the time that the horizontal position is held can be varied. There is another simple back strength test as part of the Kraus-Webber tests in which the position is held for 10 seconds.

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