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Trunk Flexion 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 hamstrings flexibility.

Required Resources

To undertake this test, you will require:

  • Flat non-slip surface
  • Metre ruler
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The athlete removes their shoes, sits with their legs out straight and feet 12 inches apart
  • The assistant places the ruler between the athlete's legs with the 15-inch mark level with the bottom of the athlete's feet and the zero inch mark between their legs
  • The athlete leans forward sliding their fingers along the ruler as far as possible
  • The assistant measures and records the distance the tips of the fingers reach along the ruler
  • The test is repeated three times
  • The assistant uses the longest recorded distance to assess the athlete's performance


A good result is > 20 inches (51cm) for men and > 22 inches for women (56cm).


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 trunk flexibility.

Target Group

This test is suitable for active athletes but not for individuals 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


  • Assistant required to administer the test

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • DAVIES, G. J. and GOULD, J. A. (1982) Trunk testing using a prototype Cybex II isokinetic dynamometer stabilization system. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 3 (4), p. 164-170
  • SMITH, S. et al. (1985) Quantification of lumbar function: Part 1: Isometric and multispeed isokinetic trunk strength measures in sagittal and axial planes in normal subjects. Spine,10 (8), p. 757-764
  • LANGRANA, N. A. et al. (1984) Quantitative assessment of back strength using isokinetic testing. Spine, 9 (3), p. 287-290

Page Reference

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

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2005) Trunk Flexion Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

Related Pages

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