Sitting to standing test? Any thoughts welcome

While at my Dad last week the sitting to standing test was on his local news. We both had a go and I realised we were probably not far off the same level. There is just no Stregnth in my core to help me slowly get to the ground then bring myself back to standing. Now I understand my Dad who is in his 80's and does no stretching or core work might struggle a little but I was surprised at my lack of ability and I've added it into my new 12 week training plan. I was thinking of just trying to do it on a daily basis.

But although I can find many articles about what the test is I cannot find exactly what to do to make my results better. Anyone got any ideas?

42 Replies

  • This has been bothering me since the TV programme.... I cant either!!! I also have googled etc and can find nothing to help me apart from improve my core. However the underlying issue for me is my lack of flexibility... I am like the tin man!!!!! I will watch eagerly for answers :)

  • I'm glad I'm not the only one. You would think if they want us all to look after ourselves they would give us the answers 😀. Ps. I'm even worse a rusty tin man.

  • I saw this test on the how to stay young programme on bbc. I've been too nervous to even try it yet... But here's the link to it there. Although it doesn't really suggest how to improve your score...

  • I know strange how they don't tell you exactly how to get better. I'm just thinking keep trying it until you manage it but it doesn't seem a very technical way forward.

  • I think it's a bit flawed as there's so many reasons why people may not be able to do it. My boyfriend can't sit cross legged for a start because he had a hip operation in his 20s and like juicyju he's very fit, but not flexible. I think if we're running etc we must be ahead of the game and a test like this maybe isn't necessary? I will try it though... at some point... just in case!

  • I agree about not everyone can do it for a lot of reasons and I do think it should come with a warning as going to sitting my muscles just give out and if I'm not careful I can come crashing down. My point about myself is I want to be that flexible and stay that flexible. If someone of my dads age can do it I want to be able to too as I have no barriers apart from lack of core and flexibility. I'm just thinking for me @50 maybe now is the time to work on it. Hehe I want it all run HM's and be flexible. I think ultimately it will compliment my running. Just be careful trying it the first time.

  • We tried the test last night. I couldn't do it without either putting one hand on the floor or rolling forward onto one knee first. My boyfriend couldn't do it without using both hands to get up, but that was better than I expected. Re balance, we also both tried standing on one leg for as long as possible (as I felt for me I could have managed to stand up better if I had better balance). I can do it about 20 seconds, he could do it indefinitely. We're both pretty fit I reckon, I think they're both potentially useful tests, but it's a bit grim to think they relate to possible lifespan, as I'm also wondering now how on earth you could improve! :(

  • There might be reasons people are not able to do it... but those might be the reasons why their longevity is less... presumably that could include having had hip surgery and/or the reasons for needing the hip surgery.

    These sorts of things test something different to what running gives us. Not completely different (I found out a thing or two about balance when I had the wrong shoes!)

    It's going to be a complex picture - and it's not a moral test and we will not all be naturally blessed with the capacity to change how we do on it.

  • The American I have linked to above does give some suggestions on how to get better and it makes sense.

  • Is this the programme you saw?

  • Thanks for the links. That's the one.

  • I score a perfect 10! Yes!

    I may be snailrunning, but I'm a master of this test.

  • Do you do yoga or flexibility work or do you have a natural strong core?

  • Non of the above. I'm 2 stone overweight and haven't done any core or flexibility training ever - I played handball a lot and danced a bit when I was young but that's 25 years ago. Since then I've done nothing what so ever. I've tried yoga 4 times because my work place offered it, but I was rubbish at it.

  • Mmmmmm I wonder if some people are just naturally more flexible. I never have been, even when I was younger. I think this is going to be an interesting experiment to see if you can make yourself flexible.

  • Of course it takes core strength to do that thing, but I'm sure you are right - it is just as much about flexibility, and I think I am naturally flexible - was at least very flexible when I was a child (did splits and stuff), am still reasonably flexible - can reach the floor with my fingertips standing with straight legs (does it make sense?) but not effortlessly.

    Balance also plays an important role, I think, and I do cycle a lot. Many Danes do, but I do it even more than most, as we don't have a car. My bicycle (recently bought an electric one) is my main means of transportation and I cycle 2x9 km everyday to work.

    That's as close as I can get to an explanation to why I can do it despite my overweight and my generally low fitness level.

  • I am not sure it is possible to be rubbish at yoga other than approaching it with the wrong attitude (ie ignoring the breath, rushing at it etc) Not that I do communal classes.

  • Ok, let me rephrase. I found it very difficult and was unable to do many of the positions we were asked to do. Felt rubbish:-)

  • I remember being really intimidated when I first started doing yoga, as I couldn't do half the things the rest of the class could do. But a good teacher will suggest ways to modify a posture for different abilities, or have props you could use. And you get an amazing sense of achievement when you can eventually do the things you once couldn't do.

  • Me too☺ Slow as a snail too.but problem😊

  • I am hopelessly inflexible in some directions, but don't find other things difficult that some people do. I suppose we're all different.

    Have almost never been able to touch my toes. I've *never* been able to cross my legs in the way that everyone else seems to think of as normal.

    I can do the "getting down" bit of this test, but needed to use one hand to help with the "getting up" bit.

    The BBC have these challenges which are meant to get you touching your toes or doing the splits!!!

    I meant to start the touching your toes one, but my fall last week has made my hip, knees and elbows very stiff and sore. Maybe next week...

    Can't imagine ever making any progress with the splits. Can't say it's on my "to do" list!

  • I hadn't seen this , not sure why not but interested to see what it is ☺

  • Blimey just watched it !!! Will have a go later not sure I could get up from that position at all #worried #mustgetmoreflexible

  • As a predictor of longevity l believe this test is very generalised. I am sure that improving ones core strength and flexibility are beneficial, but l doubt that solely training yourself to carry out the test with ease is going to extend your life expectancy.............but what do l know?

  • Hmm - this sounds a bit like bro science ( as the Americans say) to me!!! Certainly it is a good test to see what our flexibility, core strength and balance is like - all of these things are I believe VERY important as we age to prevent us from falling (something very common for older people) -- but longevity???? There are statistics which show what are the main causes of death for males and females at different ages. The main cause for youngsters in their 20's is suicide!! For older people it used to be cardiac events - but it is more commonly cancer these days. Can't see how flexibility, core strength and balance is going to affect our encounters with the big C!!!!!

  • Could be longevity because you are less likely to fall... become inactive, depressed, isolated, impaired immune system...

    (I wonder whether there is much point try to get my hip:waist ratio to look better...given that I think I've never gone in much at the waist. I don't dispute that maybe people shaped like me are more likely to develop X, Y, Z, just not sure whether it is causal, if that makes sense?

    Have to say though, those people in the film looked as though they were having heaps of fun.

  • I'm with you in the can't do club - it's all been an interesting read. My core strength is appalling really but I have friend who is keen on yoga and can do it so maybe that is the key.

  • This below is VERY good - don't be put off by the negative sounding title "Sitting Rising Test...Debunked"

    I'm going to look at more of this man;s stuff.

  • I like that a lot, thanks Bazza1234

    That said, I am not sure he is entirely right on the neurodevelopmental element and may need to hang out with a few more toddlers, many of whom do have the sit to stand off pat!

  • I can get down but there's no way I can get back up (and certainly not 4 times in a row!). I think there's some core fitness work coming up. PippiRuns's American has a few tips - and he can't do it either!

  • But at least I get a 9. And I've fallen over enough in the last few months to know that I have no problems getting back up again.

  • I was surprised after I watched this programme that I could do it. I mean, REALLY surprised!!!

  • I was an 8 because I needed to roll forward onto both knees to stand. But otherwise... I wonder if you and I have already done a lot of neurological work... we have to concentrate already!

  • I couldn't do it ...couldn't get back up anyway, but I can if I put only one hand down to get back up...that's still a 9 score. After watching this video I was relieved and not despondant after all!

  • Hi there,

    I also think technique will play a part and I think that wouldn't necessarily be related to strength etc. It is interesting but I think the program or the researchers are assigning too much importance to one test----research always take place in a context ---there's lots of research into how people can live well for a long time and there's lots of possible factors involved.

    I also remember a few years back the thing was to stand on one foot with your eyes shut for as long as you could---this was seen to be a good indicator of how well people would age. There was a set time to indicate how well you were doing.

    Also I would hate anyone on here to be worrying about this---everyone here is active and exercising regularly and doing really well.

    take care

  • Not everyone has a rounded fitness 'programme' (planned or just the way they live their lives)

  • I was shocked to see how difficult my Dad (in his 80s) was finding it to pick something off the floor the other day... and he struggles to cut his own toenails now. He does aquafit (and really goes at it) straight after spin class. Several fitness classes a week, orienteering and he's always fiddling about doing some sort of stretching.

    (He has a good set of genes... whilst both his parents had had cardiac events, they lived in good physical and cognitive health into their 90s and independently (my grandmother only moved into an environment with more care because she wanted the company)

    I've been doing yoga for 4 years now... and downward dog every day for perhaps 3. Still can't get my heels to the floor any more than when I started.

  • I'm undecided if it aids longevity and was sceptical in the first place but after reading some of your thoughts I'm more in the camp that your either flexible or not. I know I'm not that flexible but I am wondering if it something you can teach you muscles and joints. I have a varied training plan that I have started this week for 12 weeks so I am going to add this to it and see if there is any difference at the end of 12 weeks. The reason I want to be more flexible even though I'm not that old somethings are becoming harder, I'm not sure if it's because I have arthritis or because my muscles are tight from running so it will be interesting to see the result in 12 weeks. Thanks for all your input, I will keep you posted on this very unscientific experiment.

  • I saw something good on how you work out whether it is an anatomical restriction (ie something that isn't going to chance, so you need to modify your exercise) or something that can be improved. I'll try to find it again and share.

    Take some comfort folks that those who are hypermobile would argue that flexibility can have its downside!

    It seems to be all about not 'can we do X exercise?' but what that approximates eg

    Are we going to be prone to falls?

    Are our bones weak so we are likely to break something if we do fall? (As runners we are already looking after that one really well because of our high impact activity)

    Are we going to be stuck on the floor if we fall? (The video Bazza posted was very good here)

    Can we get to and on and off the toilet without assistance?

  • I can do this..always could and still can..cannot run fast or far but,I can do this!☺

  • Hmm -- I think I am going to need some practice -- not necessarily this method of getting down to and up off the floor ( I can barely even cross my legs and stand up !! so there is no way I can even sit down with my legs crossed without losing my balance - but that may be because of my short legs to body length ratio! :) ) I have had "ducks disease" ever since I was born -- the main symptom of ducks disease is that your bum is too close to the floor!! :) . But this all has made me realise how important it is to be able to get down onto the floor and get back up off it - so that is going to become my "rest day" exercise for some time until I am happy with my efforts!!

    Strangely enough - one exercise I can do easily is DEEP squats -- I can sit on my haunches for quite a while.

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