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Sit & Reach Test

Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made but, in the analysis, we need to bear in mind the factors that may influence the results.


The objective of this test is to monitor the development of the athlete's lower back and hamstring flexibility.

Required Resources

To undertake this test, you will require:

  • Box
  • Metre Ruler
  • Tape
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

The Sit and Reach Test is conducted as follows:

  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes and then removes their shoes
  • The assistant secures the ruler to the box top with the tape so that the front edge of the box lines up with the 15cm (6 inches) mark on the ruler and the zero end of the ruler points towards the athlete
  • The athlete sits on the floor with their legs fully extended with the bottom of their bare feet against the box
  • The athlete places one hand on top of the other, slowly bends forward and reaches along the top of the ruler as far as possible holding the stretch for two seconds
  • The assistant records the distance reached by the athlete's fingertips (cm)
  • The athlete performs the test three times
  • The assistant calculates and records the average of the three distances and uses this value to assess the athlete's performance
Sit and Reach


The following normative data is available for this test.

The following table is for 16 to 19-year-olds (Davis et al. 2000, p. 126)[1]:

Gender Excellent Above average Average Below average Poor
Male >14 14.0 - 11.0 10.9 - 7.0 6.9 - 4.0 <4
Female >15 15.0 - 12.0 11.9 - 7.0 6.9 - 4.0 <4

For an evaluation of the athlete's performance select the gender, enter the best distance and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Gender Distance cm     Assessment


Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's flexibility.

Target Group

This test is suitable for active individuals but not for those where the test would be contraindicated.


Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.


Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development.


  • Minimal equipment required
  • Simple to set up and conduct
  • Can be conducted almost anywhere


  • Specialist equipment required
  • Assistant required to administer the test


  1. DAVIS, B. et al. (2000) Physical Education and the study of sport, 4th ed. London: Harcourt Publishers.

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • CHILLON, P. et al. (2010) Hip flexibility is the main determinant of the back-saver sit-and-reach test in adolescents. Journal of sports sciences, 28 (6), p. 641-648
  • MIER, C. M. et al. (2013) Sex differences in pelvic and hip flexibility in men and women matched for sit-and-reach score. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27 (4), p. 1031-1035
  • WELLS, K. F. and DILLON, E. K. (1952) The sit and reach—a test of back and leg flexibility. Research Quarterly. American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 23 (1), p. 115-118

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2000) Sit and Reach Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: