On the generality of the "sit and reach" test: an analysis of flexibility data for an aging population

Res Q Exerc Sport. 1990 Dec;61(4):326-30. doi: 10.1080/02701367.1990.10607495.


Head rotation, shoulder extension and rotation, ankle plantar and dorsiflexion, hip flexion, and sit and reach (SR) scores were examined in 41 women and 39 men, aged 45-75 years. The SR gave more reproducible data than the other measurements (intraclass test/retest correlation over 8 months, r = .83). SR scores were independent of standing height (r2 = .068) but were greater in women (p less than .002). The flexibility at all joints was less than reported for young adults. There were age-related decreases of flexibility scores for the head and shoulder joints (p less than .01), with a parallel trend (p less than .05) for ankle plantar flexion and SR scores (the last only after inclusion of an age-gender interaction term). A principal components analysis identified three factors (tentatively identified as general trunk, ankle, and shoulder flexibility) accounting for 55.9% of total variance. SR scores had a moderate correlation with the first factor (r = .61) but only weak correlations with the second and third. Although the SR test is the most reliable simple instrument, it provides only limited information about the flexibility at other joints in an older population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors