The back saver sit and reach test is a simple and quick way to test the flexibility of your lower back and hamstrings. The test is performed by sitting on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and reaching forward as far as possible.

What is the back saver sit and reach test?

Stretching exercises keep your muscles elastic and help your joints move freely. These can be described as ‘Range of motion exercises’ or ‘Comfortable tension exercises. Some examples of stretching exercises include the Shoulder test, Trunk lift test, and SR (Sit and Reach) test.

Sit and reach test is the most commonly used flexibility test. It is a linear flexibility test that measures the extensibility of the lower back and hamstring. This test was originally reported by Wells and Dillon in 1952. 

Sit and reach test is a field test that can be easily used to administer to a large size of population in a community. It plays a key role in fitness related to physical health.  An extensive database of results is present for every age group and gender which you can use to compare with your flexibility result. In a study conducted in 1986, it was concluded that the SR test provides a valid assessment of lower back flexibility. Source:

Benefits of back saver sit and reach test

Sit and Reach test is considered a beneficial tool to assess the flexibility of the spine and hamstring. Flexibility is described as a component of physical fitness and it leads to a good posture and body shape. Moreover, it will reduce the risk of injury, improves your muscle mobility and coordination, and will help maintain a good posture. The flexibility of muscles is improved by stretching your major muscles.

How to do a sit and reach test?

You can perform dynamic or static stretching. It is recommended by trainers to have 2 to 3 training per week. The ideal practice is that you should try to hold your stretch for 15 – 30 seconds and repeat the exercise 2 to 4 times.

Back saver sit and reach box

Find a solid box of 30 cm and place it on the floor. 

Take a tape of one meter in length and fix it over the box in such a way that 26 cm extends over the box.

Procedure for sit and reach test

  • Now getting started. Sit on the floor and extend your legs outward with your knees locked up.
  • Place your feet along the front end of the box.
  • Sliding your hands on the ruler, lean on your hips.
  • Stretch while exhaling and reach your toes.
  • Keep stretching until you feel a slight discomfort in your hamstring.
  • The stretch should be held for 15 – 30 seconds.
  • Record the result of the stretch.
  • Repeat thrice.
  • Keep a record of your every result to check for the improvement

Disadvantages of sit and reach test

One of the disadvantages of using the back saver sit and reach test is that it doesn’t allow variations for different lengths of arms and legs.  So the test is beneficial for people with good lengths of arms and legs and is relatively not much useful for people having short arms and lengths. To fix this problem, a modified test is used. 

Another disadvantage of the SR test is that the range of motion and the muscles, both are specific. Thirdly, stretching can increase any already present injury in your muscles. So you should consult any doctor or athlete before starting any stretching exercise.

Back saver sit and reach measurement

sit and reach test

You should compare the result of your SR test to the score present according to your age and gender to assess the flexibility 

The results are given below

Adult MenAdult WomenResult
34cm or above37cm or aboveExcellent
28 to 33cm33 to 36cmAbove average
23 to 27cm29 to 32cmAverage
16 to 22cm23 to 28cmBelow average
Below 16cmBelow 23cmPoor

V test sit and reach

You can also use some other fitness tests to assess the flexibility of the hamstring and spine. 

One of these tests is the V test. To get started, you will need tape to be placed on the floor and a measuring tape placed perpendicular to the tape. The subject will sit on the floor in such a way that the measuring tape is between the legs of the subject and the 0 of the measuring tape starts from where your legs are apart. The subject should start leaning forward on the floor as far as possible with the palms facing downwards. The legs should have been held flat. Take care that the movements should be steady. The result should be recorded when the stretch has been held for 3 seconds.

Back saver sit and reach without box

back saver sit and reach at home

Another fitness test that can serve as an alternative to the SR test is the fingertip-to-floor distance test. After warming up with a few stretches, the subject will bend down toward the floor while standing. Your partner can measure the distance from fingertips to the floor. If you are able to touch the floor, it will be a sign of good physical fitness.

A study conducted in Ankara, Turkey has shown that Sit and reach test is considerably safer and provides more accurate results as compared to other traditional fitness tests.



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