Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine


Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 1 - 14
Review article
Criterion-Related Validity of Sit-and-Reach Tests for Estimating Hamstring and Lumbar Extensibility: a Meta-Analysis
Daniel Mayorga-Vega1,, Rafael Merino-Marban2, Jesús Viciana1

1 Department of Physical Education and Sport, University of Granada, Spain
2 Department of Didactics of Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expression, University of Malaga, Spain

Daniel Mayorga-Vega
✉ Department of Physical Education and Sport, University of Granada, Spain

21-06-2013 -- Accepted: 22-08-2013 --
Published (online): 20-01-2014


The main purpose of the present meta-analysis was to examine the scientific literature on the criterion-related validity of sit-and-reach tests for estimating hamstring and lumbar extensibility. For this purpose relevant studies were searched from seven electronic databases dated up through December 2012. Primary outcomes of criterion-related validity were Pearson´s zero-order correlation coefficients (r) between sit-and-reach tests and hamstrings and/or lumbar extensibility criterion measures. Then, from the included studies, the Hunter- Schmidt´s psychometric meta-analysis approach was conducted to estimate population criterion- related validity of sit-and-reach tests. Firstly, the corrected correlation mean (rp), unaffected by statistical artefacts (i.e., sampling error and measurement error), was calculated separately for each sit-and-reach test. Subsequently, the three potential moderator variables (sex of participants, age of participants, and level of hamstring extensibility) were examined by a partially hierarchical analysis. Of the 34 studies included in the present meta-analysis, 99 correlations values across eight sit-and-reach tests and 51 across seven sit-and-reach tests were retrieved for hamstring and lumbar extensibility, respectively. The overall results showed that all sit-and-reach tests had a moderate mean criterion-related validity for estimating hamstring extensibility (rp = 0.46-0.67), but they had a low mean for estimating lumbar extensibility (rp = 0. 16-0.35). Generally, females, adults and participants with high levels of hamstring extensibility tended to have greater mean values of criterion-related validity for estimating hamstring extensibility. When the use of angular tests is limited such as in a school setting or in large scale studies, scientists and practitioners could use the sit-and-reach tests as a useful alternative for hamstring extensibility estimation, but not for estimating lumbar extensibility.

Key words: Concurrent validity, range of motion, flexibility, field test, lineal test, systematic review
Key Points
Overall sit-and-reach tests have a moderate mean criterion-related validity for estimating hamstring extensibility, but they have a low mean validity for estimating lumbar extensibility.
Among all the sit-and-reach test protocols, the Classic sit-and-reach test seems to be the best option to estimate hamstring extensibility.
End scores (e.g., the Classic sit-and-reach test) are a better indicator of hamstring extensibility than the modifications that incorporate fingers-to-box distance (e.g., the Modified sit-and-reach test).
When angular tests such as straight leg raise or knee extension tests cannot be used, sit-and-reach tests seem to be a useful field test alternative to estimate hamstring extensibility, but not to estimate lumbar extensibility.


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