Disadvantages Of The Sit And Reach Test

Introduced by Wells and Dillon, the sit and reach test is used to measure hamstring and lower back flexibility. 

Even today, it holds as much relevance as it did in 1952 when it was launched and is most commonly used by coaches, fitness trainers, and exercise physiologists. What’s more, this flexibility test may help professionals identify future pain and injuries a person is likely to suffer due to low back and hamstring tightness. 

As beneficial as it is, the sit and reach test has its limitations, which not everyone knows. That is why we went into the nitty-gritty of the sit and reach test and compiled this guide with all the deets that you must know before taking the test. 

So, let’s dive straight into the details! 

Sit And Reach Test – Everything That You Need To Know

Before we dive in to discuss the disadvantages of the sit and reach test, we’d like to share with you the right way to conduct it. Knowing the steps to conduct this test makes it easy for individuals to take it anywhere to assess their flexibility. 

How To Perform The Sit And Reach Test?

Starting with the basics, you’ll have to get your hands on a testing box of about 30cms. On top of that box, you’ll have to attach a meter stick, ensuring that it extends above the front edge of the box towards the participant. 

When that’s done, conduct the sit and reach test in the following way:

1. Take Position

First off, take off your shoes, sit on the floor against the test box, and stretch out both legs with your knees straight. While taking your position, keep your feet flat at the periphery of the box. 

2. Lean Forward

Slowly and steadily, the candidate must lean forward at the hips toward the testing box placed in front. Keep your knees straight, raise your hands, place one on top of the other, keep leaning forward and slide them as far as possible without bouncing. 

3. Stretch And Repeat

When taking this test, stay focused and keep your eyes on your hands to see how far they go. As soon as you bounce, ask the trainer or assistant to note down the distance you covered in centimeters in a notepad or a smartphone. 

After relaxing for a few minutes, repeat the test at least three times in the same manner as you did the first time. 

4. Calculate The Results

Every time you take the sit and reach test, jotting down the distance covered is important because it will come in handy for evaluating your performance. Simply calculate the average of the three distances and use the final score to assess the flexibility of your body. 

Disadvantages Of The Sit And Reach Test

Like other tests, the sit and reach test has shortcomings that every coach, fitness expert, and physiologist must know before conducting the test. 

1. Requires A Testing Box

First and foremost, the sit and reach test is conducted with a testing box; only then will the results be accurate. While you can take the test on other flat surfaces like stairways, keep in mind that the results may not be as accurate as with the testing box.  

Other than the box, a ruler or a measuring tape is an absolute necessity for the test as it measures the distance covered accurately. 

2. Accuracy Of The Test May Vary From Individual To Individual

Every human being on this earth is unique and is blessed with different stature. While some are fortunate to have long legs or arms, others aren’t as they have short limbs. Those with long arms and short legs are at an advantage because they’ll be able to cover more distance compared to folks with short arms and long legs. 

3. Tests The Flexibility Of Only Hamstrings And Lower Back

The sit and reach test is useful for assessing the flexibility of only the hamstrings and lower back. To test the flexibility of other regions of the body, such as muscles and joints, you’ll have to undertake another test designed for the purpose. 

4. Requires An Assistant

Even if you have a testing box, you won’t be able to take the test alone because an assistant is required to record the distance covered. Even though you’re at liberty to perform this test anywhere you want, an assistant is required to administer the test. 

For this reason, most athletes and sportspersons take the test under the supervision of their coaches. 

Why Perform The Sit And Reach Test?

How often do we sit on the floor, stretch our legs and reach out for the toes? 

We know the majority of you won’t be able to recall the last time you sat on the floor and tried touching the toes with your legs stretched. But good back and hamstring flexibility is important for each one of us and not only for athletes or sportspersons. 

That is why everyone must perform the sit and reach test regularly to improve their flexibility so that they can cycle, play soccer and prevent lower back pain. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Sit And Reach Test Easy To Conduct?

Yes, the sit and reach test is easy to perform; all you need is a testing box, ruler or measuring tape, and an assistant to note down the distance. 

2. Are The Test Results Reliable?

The results of the test are reliable if you conduct it following the necessary protocols put forth for the test. Also, make sure you do a few warm-up workouts before taking the test. 

Final Words

The sit and reach test is easy to perform and can be conducted wherever and whenever you want. Just keep in mind that you’ll need an assistant, a testing box, and measuring tape for proper assessment of your hamstring and lower back flexibility. 

As already mentioned, results may vary from person to person because of the length of the limbs. Therefore, there can be variations in the final score, and perhaps you may score less than your fellow mate. 

But don’t lose heart; before you take the test, do a five-minute warm-up workout so that you can perform your absolute best. 

On that note, we’ll call curtains for the day. Bye for now! 



Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

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