The Trunk Lift back extensor strength test requires the participant to lift the upper body off the floor using the muscles of the back, and hold that position while the height is measured.
purpose: this test measures trunk extensor strength, flexibility and endurance.
equipment required: gym mat, measuring device (e.g. yardstick, ruler, tape measure), marker.
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 aim of the test is to lift the upper body off the floor using the muscles of the back and hold the position to allow for the measurement. The subject lies on the mat in a face-down position, with toes pointed back behind the body and hands placed under the thighs. Place a marker on the floor in line with the eyes (a coin or other marker), which they must maintain focus on throughout the movement (to help keep head in alignment). When ready, the upper body is lifted off the floor, in a very slow and controlled manner, to a maximum height of 12 inches. The head should be maintained in a straight alignment with the spine. The position must be held long enough for a measurement to be made of the distance - from the floor to the chin. Once the measurement has been made, the participant returns to the starting position. Two trials are allowed, with the best score recorded.
scoring: This test will be assessed as the distance from the floor to the chin. The maximum score on this test is 12 inches, anything over this distance is recorded as 12 inches.
advantages: this is a simple test to perform, with minimal equipment
disadvantages: You are only able to test one person at a time, so may take a while to test large groups. You can get participants to partner up, with one measuring and one performing the test.
comments: Do not allow students to do ballistic, bouncing movements - all movements should be performed in a slow and controlled manner. The scoring is limited to 12 inches as it is not safe to encourage hyperextension, which can cause compression of the spinal discs.
The Test in Action
- This test is part of the FitnessGram and Brockport test protocols.
- Isometric Back Strength
- Upper Back Strength (Kraus-Weber)
- Plank Test
- About the FitnessGram Program and the Brockport test battery.
- Back extension strength fitness exercise
- Other strength and power tests