The sit-to-stand muscle power test: An easy, inexpensive and portable procedure to assess muscle power in older people

Exp Gerontol. 2018 Oct 2:112:38-43. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2018.08.006. Epub 2018 Sep 1.


Introduction: Skeletal muscle power has been demonstrated to be a stronger predictor of functional limitations than any other physical capability. However, no validated alternatives exist to the usually expensive instruments and/or time-consuming methods to evaluate muscle power in older populations. Our aim was to validate an easily applicable procedure to assess muscle power in large cohort studies and the clinical setting and to assess its association with other age-related outcomes.

Methods: Forty community dwelling older adults (70-87 years) and 1804 older subjects (67-101 years) participating in the Toledo Study for Healthy Aging were included in this investigation. Sit-to-stand (STS) velocity and muscle power were calculated using the subject's body mass and height, chair height and the time needed to complete five STS repetitions, and compared with those obtained in the leg press exercise using a linear position transducer. In addition, STS performance, physical (gait speed) and cognitive function, sarcopenia (skeletal muscle index (SMI)) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were recorded to assess the association with the STS muscle power values.

Results: No significant differences were found between STS velocity and power values and those obtained from the leg press force-velocity measurements (mean difference ± 95% CI = 0.02 ± 0.05 m·s-1 and 6.9 ± 29.8 W, respectively) (both p > 0.05). STS muscle power was strongly associated with maximal muscle power registered in the leg press exercise (r = 0.72; p < 0.001). In addition, cognitive function and SMI, and physical function, were better associated with absolute and relative STS muscle power, respectively, than STS time values after adjusting by different covariates. In contrast, STS time was slightly more associated with HRQoL than STS muscle power measures.

Conclusion: The STS muscle power test proved to be a valid, and in general, a more clinically relevant tool to assess functional trajectory in older people compared to traditional STS time values. The low time, space and material requirements of the STS muscle power test, make this test an excellent choice for its application in large cohort studies and the clinical setting.

Keywords: Chair rising; Exercise testing; Frailty; Functional ability; Healthy aging; Sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology
  • Sitting Position*
  • Spain
  • Standing Position*
  • Walking Speed