Can you get up from the floor? Try this!

Smiling mature man kneelingDo you know if you’re fit enough for living your life independently? This may sound like a stupid question, but try the test below yourself and you might be surprised.

I found the test in a blog post written by Katy Bowman (my new favorite blog!). She’s is a Biomechanist and writes about all things related to the alignment of the body. The test is named Sit Down and Get Up and it’s used to assess your level of functional strength, flexibility and balance. You need them all to be able to go effortlessly go through your everyday life.

The test is very simple. You get down to the floor from standing position and then up from the floor. You get a maximum score of 10 (5 for sitting down, 5 for getting up) if you’re able do lower yourself down from the standing position without using support. Subtract one point (1) if you need to use some external aid (leaning hand on a floor, on your knee (leg), or a piece of furniture; or leaning on your lower leg to get up). ½ points is subtracted if you have difficulty keeping your balance. The same rules apply to getting up from sitting down.

Below is a Youtube video explaining how to score the test plus some real-life examples of execution. The older lady had to use external support several times both when getting down and up, but the younger, fitter looking guys had some trouble too.

How did I fare?

Sitting down from upright position was easy enough, no problem (5 points). Getting up was a little bit more challenging: I had to place my left leg on ground and push up from that position to get back standing up (-1 point for that). Because I had to lean quite far forward to get up from that squatty position, I subtracted ½ points, so my score is 8 ½.

Now my score is ok, but the missing points gave me reason to think. First, I think I may need to work with my ankle flexibility. Secondly, the fact that I had to use my left leg for support suggests that I need to work to improve my leg and core strength (I lean to much forward which is not a good sign. According to Katy, the more upright you can stay during the test, the more you have functional strength.

Eventually, I want to be able to execute the test in one fluid movement, however long it’s going to take to get there. Luckily I just got started with my strength training program today.


I guess I can be happy I have the functional strength to be able to live at home alone, at age 45. 🙂

In general, if your score is > 8, you’re doing ok.
If you go way below that it’s time to think what you should do to improve your situation. You may need to start thinking about improving your strength, flexibility or balance, or all of them.

BTW, I forgot to mention that the test score is a quite reliable predictor of overall mortality. The better you do with the test, the likelier you’re to live long.


Did you do the test? Did you score as well as you expected?


  1. I think I scored a 9 Satu – like you getting down was okay, but to get up I had to put my hand(s) on one leg to push after I’d manoeuvred my legs into position. Balance-wise I wasn’t too bad. Despite my currently lack of fitness I’m naturally pretty flexible… but I have more trouble getting out of a low chair nowadays – pushing my heavy weight without leveraging off something. It’s one of the things that made me decide I needed to drop as much weight as possible as I hated how much I struggled!


    • Satu says:

      Hi Deb!
      I also think that the extra weight I carry these days is one thing that makes getting up harder than getting down. I’m also quite flexible but I was left wondering if I should be even more flexible in my ankle joints..

  2. What a cool test!! I was able to sit down on the floor with no problem, but getting up was more difficult and I needed the use of one hand on the floor and a little bit of a twist in order to get up. So I guess that would give me a score of 9? Not bad for 51. In any case, these days I am all about functional fitness these days…

    • Satu says:

      Hi Karen! Yes, it’s a very cool test and a little bit mysterious. My sister introduced it to my 5 and 7 year old nieces and the odd thing was they weren’t able to do it either without taking support. (i.e. they scored 9) There’s that one strong-looking guy who was able to to that in the video…..

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