What Is the 30-Second Sit-to-Stand Test and How Is it Performed?


Assessing the physical capabilities of a patient is a critical process in providing care to an individual. Testing allows physicians to determine their patient’s condition to craft a care and treatment plan to help improve the patient’s daily life. The 30-second sit-to-stand test is a simple test that allows for assessment of the condition of a patient’s legs.

Some Quick Background

Also known as a 30-second chair stand test, this test is a way to assess an individual’s leg strength and endurance by having them stand up from a sitting position repeatedly over the course of 30 seconds. It is often administered as part of a more extensive testing regimen. However, it may also be utilized on its own. It is an excellent option for an easy assessment because it requires little when it comes to time and equipment.

Who Needs to Take the 30-Second Sit-to-Stand Test?

Older patients are often asked to take the 30-second sit-to-stand test. The test can be used as a way to test loss of function as a result of aging, which is why it is more popular with the elderly. However, this test is not exclusively given to seniors. It may be ordered for any patient in need of an assessment of their leg strength. This can be the result of an injury that harmed function as well as a medical condition that has had debilitative effects.

What Is Required to Perform a Chair Rise Test?

30 second sit to stand test at Scheck & Siress Chicago

 Image via Flickr by Dai Lygad

One of the best perks about performing a 30-second sit-to-stand is how little is required to perform it. To administer the test, you will need:

  • A wall: Ideally, you will need a wall with a blank section as wide as a person. This helps ensure that if the individual performing the test loses their balance and moves backward, they do not knock anything off the wall, which can damage the hanging item and injure the patient.
  • A chair with no armrests: A simple folding chair is the easiest option, though any chair can be used as long as it is sturdy and reliable, has no raised rests that could be used as an aide when standing, and a seat height of 17 inches. You should also ensure that the chair is placed on a no-slip surface or has tips on the legs, like rubber caps, that will provide traction to avoid the chair slipping and moving during the test.
  • A timing device: You should have a stopwatch or wristwatch available so that you can accurately track the 30 seconds.

How To Administer a 30-Second Sit-to-Stand

To perform a 30-second sit-to-stand , you must record the total number of complete repetitions the individual being tested can complete without assistance. Instruct them to sit in the chair with their back straight and arms crossed over their chest. Have them position their feet shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of the chair so that their legs make just under a 90-degree angle at the knee, and slightly staggered with one foot about an inch further forward.

For a rep to officially count, the patient must stand up completely, with their back straight and without using their hands to assist themselves in any way. If the individual does not fully stand or uses their hand to press off the chair or their own legs, that rep does not count. If needed, you can demonstrate the difference between a good rep and a non-rep before starting. You may also ask the patient to do one or two practice repetitions to ensure they understand if you do not feel that it will hinder their testing performance.

Once the patient understands the task, and after a brief rest if needed after the practice repetitions, have them assume the seated position and ready your clock. Count the number of correct reps they complete in the 30 seconds. If time ends in the middle of a repetition, count the rep if the patient has completed more than half of the movement.

Assessing the Results of a 30-Second Sit-to-Stand

Although a physician may have different expectations when conducting a 30-second sit-to-stand , which can be affected by factors including the age, gender, physical condition, and needs of the patient, the Center for Disease Control provides a generic assessment to determine if a senior patient’s results are below average. When conducting the test to CDC standards, a patient’s age and gender are the key factors. These are the average scores by age:

  • 60-64: Male – 14; Female – 12
  • 65-59: Male – 12; Female – 11
  • 70-74: Male – 12; Female – 10
  • 75-79: Male – 11; Female – 10
  • 80-84: Male – 10; Female – 9
  • 85-89: Male – 8; Female – 8
  • 90-94:  Male – 7; Female – 4

Having a below-average score means that the individual is at a higher risk of falling because of their diminishing leg strength, endurance, or balance.

What Options Are Available to Assist Following a Below-Average Result?

If the results of a sit-to-stand test show that a patient is struggling with a loss of leg strength or endurance, then they may be given a treatment course ranging from therapies to physical aids. In addition to helping a patient to build their strength back up, treatments can also provide short-term solutions to allow for increased mobility even when dealing with diminished strength. Common treatments for weak or fatigued legs include:

  • Physical therapy: A therapy plan can be used to help the patient rebuild strength in the legs, often by performing low-weight or assisted leg exercises. By slowly increasing the intensity of the exercises being performed, a therapist can help the patient to regain strength in their legs.
  • Walking aids: Physical aids like a cane or a walker provide upper body support when attempting to stand, sit, or walk. This can allow a patient to maintain their independence even if they are struggling with weakened leg function.
  • Orthopedic braces: Another excellent option for providing extra support in weakened legs is the use of orthopedic braces, which are available in a range of styles and intensities to match the individual needs of the patient.

Scheck & Siress provide premium quality orthopedics and prosthetics. If you, your patient, or your family member has recently taken a chair rise test and it has been determined that additional braces are required, Scheck & Siress have the reliable aids you’re looking for to get the results you need. Check them out today!