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30-Second Chair Stand Test
Part of the Senior Fitness Test

How many times can you stand up and sit down in 30 seconds?
How many times can you stand up and
sit down in 30 seconds?

How many times can you stand up from a chair and sit back down in 30 seconds? The answer can be a predictor of your future health. Evaluating how well you can move is also critical in designing an appropriate workout program. Here’s how to give yourself the 30-second chair stand test.

While this test is safe and can be done by most people without medical screening, the researchers who developed the Senior Fitness Test say it should NOT be attempted if any of the following apply to you.

“People who should not participate in testing without physician approval are those who have been advised by their doctors not to exercise because of a medical condition; have had congestive heart failure; are currently experiencing joint pain, chest pain, or dizziness or have exertional angina (chest tightness, pressure, pain, heaviness) during exercise; or have uncontrolled high blood pressure (greater than 160/100).”

To prepare, you’ll need a straight-back or folding chair with a seat height of 17 inches (43 cm). Place the chair’s back against a wall and make sure the chair has anti-skid protectors like rubber feet to prevent it from sliding around. You’ll also need something to time yourself for 30 seconds.

30-Second Chair Stand Test - Part of the Senior Fitness Test

Step One, “sit in the middle of the chair with back straight, feet flat on the floor, and arms crossed at the wrists and held against the chest.”

Step Two, when the 30-second timer starts, you will rise to a complete stand, then return to a fully seated position. Your arms are to stay crossed at the wrists and held against the chest. Each time you stand all the way up and sit back down counts as one repetition. If you are more than halfway up when the time runs out, you can count that as a full repetition.

Your goal is to see how many repetitions you can complete in the 30-seconds allowed. You can practice a couple of times before you start the test. If someone cannot stand up without assistance, you can let them use a cane or push off with their hands. However, if they use some form of assistance, their score is 0. Make a note of what sort of assistance they used so you can compare it against the same test in the future.

Scoring

  • Great: 19 or more reps in 30 seconds means your endurance and lower-body strength are above average. You have the greatest life expectancy.

  • Average: Between 10 and 18 reps indicates average endurance and lower-body strength.

  • Poor: 9 reps or fewer should be considered a warning sign. You’re at higher risk for falling while your endurance and lower-body strength are below average. If you’re in the average or below-average ranges, talk to your doctor about what you can do to improve that number.

How well did you do? Here are the complete breakdowns by age and gender.

30-Second Chair Stand Test - Male Results
If your score falls in the green area, you have met the recommended standard for your age group. The yellow area is a warning sign and you should talk to your doctor about making improvements.

30-Second Chair Stand Test - Female Results
If your score falls in the green area, you have met the recommended standard for your age group. The yellow area is a warning sign and you should talk to your doctor about making improvements.

Physiotherapists Roberta Rikli and Jessie Jones designed the 30-second chair stand test as part of the broader Senior Fitness Test, originally known as the Fullerton Functional Fitness Test. The authors conducted studies on over 7,000 people between the ages of 60 and 94. They used that information to build a series of tests to measure upper and lower body strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

12/4/2021