Chair Sit and Reach Test

The Chair Sit and Reach test is part of the Senior Fitness Test Protocol, and is designed to test the functional fitness of seniors. It is a variation of the traditional sit and reach flexibility test.

purpose: This test measures lower body flexibility.

equipment required: ruler, straight back or folding chair, (about 17 inches/44 cm high)

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: The subject sits on the edge a chair (placed against a wall for safety). One foot must remain flat on the floor. The other leg is extended forward with the knee straight, heel on the floor, and ankle bent at 90°. Place one hand on top of the other with tips of the middle fingers even. Instruct the subject to Inhale, and then as they exhale, reach forward toward the toes by bending at the hip. Keep the back straight and head up. Avoid bouncing or quick movements, and never stretch to the point of pain. Keep the knee straight, and hold the reach for 2 seconds. The distance is measured between the tip of the fingertips and the toes. If the fingertips touch the toes then the score is zero. If they do not touch, measure the distance between the fingers and the toes (a negative score), if they overlap, measure by how much (a positive score). Perform two trials. See also video demonstrations of the Sit and Reach Test.

scoring: The score is recorded to the nearest 1/2 inch or 1 cm as the distance reached, either a negative or positive score. Record which leg was used for measurement. Below is a table showing the recommended ranges (in inches) for this test based on age groups (from Jones & Rikli, 2002).

Men’s Results

Age below average average (inches) above average
60-64 < -2.5 -2.5 to 4.0 > 4.0
65-69 < -3.0 -3.0 to 3.0 > 3.0
70-74 < -3.5 -3.5 to 2.5 > 2.5
75-79 < -4.0 -4.0 to 2.0 > 2.0
80-84 < -5.5 -5.5 to 1.5 > 1.5
85-89 < -5.5 -5.5 to 0.5 > 0.5
90-94 < -6.5 -6.5 to -0.5 > -0.5

Women’s Results

Age below average average (inches) above average
60-64 < -0.5 -0.5 to 5.0 > 5.0
65-69 < -0.5 -0.5 to 4.5 > 4.5
70-74 < -1.0 -1.0 to 4.0 > 4.0
75-79 < -1.5 -1.5 to 3.5 > 3.5
80-84 < -2.0 -2.0 to 3.0 > 3.0
85-89 < -2.5 -2.5 to 2.5 > 2.5
90-94 < -4.5 -4.5 to 1.0 > 1.0

target population: the aged population which may not be able to do traditional fitness tests.

advantages: Does not require the subjects to get up and down from the floor as does the traditional test.

disadvantages: only one leg is usually measured, which will not show any differences between sides.

reliability: The reliability of this test will depend on the amount of warm-up prior to testing. If retesting, the you must ensure the same procedures are used each time, and the order of tests should also be standardized.

contraindications: This test should not be done if you have severe Osteoporosis.

other comments: This is a variation of the standard sit and reach test adapted for the elderly population. Read the review of the sit and reach test for a list of other test variations.

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