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: Participants lie face down on a bench, with their upper body from the waist hanging over the end of the bench. The participant's feet must be held or strapped down, and the arms by their side, across the chest 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.
- Isometric leg strength test
- Upper back Kraus-Weber strength test — lift up the chest for 10 seconds while the feet are held down.
- Lower back Kraus-Weber strength test — lift up the legs for 10 seconds while the upper body is held down.
- Back Extensions — number of back extensions performed in 20 seconds.
- Trunk Lift — lift the upper body off the floor and hold that position while the height is measured.