To assess flexibility of the lower back and hamstring muscles, a sit and reach test is a common measure used by physical therapist. This particular test is an important indicator of tightness in the assessed area that is correlated with lumbar lordosis, forward pelvic tilt and lower back pain. This is a widely used test used as an assessment of flexibility.
There are some variations of the sit and reach test. The variations involve the differences in the value of the level of the feet.
Using the level of the feet as recording zero is a logical measure, which indicates that any measure that does not reach the toes is negative and any measure going past the toes is a positive measure. A limitation of this variation is that people with long arms and/or short legs get a better result. People with short arms and/or long legs are at a disadvantage. A modified sit and reach test controls for this advantage or disadvantage because the zero mark is adjusted for every individual, based on their sitting reach level.
If you don't have a sit and reach box, you can use a ruler and any box, step or crate to do the test.
Sit and Reach Test Procedures
As stated above to do this test your can use a sit and reach test box or a box, step or crate with a ruler will do. The requires that sitting on the floor with legs stretched out straight ahead. Shoes should not be worn. The soles of the feet should be placed against the box. Knees should be locked and pressed flat on the ground. If needed a the person giving the test can press the knees down. Face palms downward, which one hand on top of the other, the subject reaches forward along the measuring line as far as possible. Hand should stay at the same level with one hand not reaching further than the other. After some practice reaches, the test subject should should reach out and hold the position for one to two second - long enough the the tester to record the distance. There should be no jerky motions. The reach should be smooth. The score is recorded to the nearest centimeter or half inch as the distance reached by the hand
The sit and reach test is a regularly used flexibility test and is easy and quick to administer. One advantage of this test is there is a lot of published data to use for comparison purposes.
Related Blog Posts: