Alert! If you have low-back pain, doing this test may aggravate your condition.
Tape measure or yardstick and tape and a partner to help record your score.
- Perform a series of static stretches. These stretches should focus on stretching the trunk and legs. Following the stretches, you may also want to do some brisk walking.
- Place a yardstick on the floor and put a long piece of masking tape over the 15 inch mark at a right angle to the yardstick.
- Remove your shoes and sit on the floor with the yardstick between the legs (0 mark close to your crotch), with your feet about 12 inches apart. Heels should be at the 14 inch mark at the start of the stretch to account for the fact that the legs tend to move forward when performing the stretch.
- With the fingertips in contact with the yardstick, slowly stretch forward with both hands as far as possible noting where the fingertips are to the closest inch. Exhaling when you stretch forward and dropping the head may allow you to stretch a bit further. Do not use fast and sudden motions, which can injure your hamstring muscles.
- Perform the stretch three times with a few seconds of rest between stretches.
- Record the best measurement.
* The sit and reach test is re-printed from the YMCA Fitness Testing and Assessment Manual, 4th edition, 2000, 60606.