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A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology

Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2008 March;48(1):37-42

language: English

Chin-up strength tests: does stature matter?

Sekerak R. J. 1, Zimmermann K. P. 2, 3

1 Rehabilitation Services Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand
2 Rehabilitation Care Line Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Houston, TX, USA
3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX, USA


Aim. Many organizations place high value on employee physical fitness and use standardized physical fitness tests (PFT) to quantify it. The chin-up strength test is an example of such a test. Participants’ anecdotal reports raise some concern that the latter is inherently biased against tall individuals. A demonstration that tall individuals are less likely than short individuals to achieve maximum score on a chin-up strength test, and modified scoring tables that equalize this likelihood across the stature range are sought.
Methods. A statistical summary of 85 chin-up test outcomes is analyzed for likelihood of maximum scores as a function of stature. Scoring tables modified by reducing the number of chin-ups required for maximum score in a ratio inverse to a fixed power of the stature ratios are introduced.
Results. Statistical analysis shows that short individuals are more likely to achieve maximum chin-up test scores (P<0.05). Stature adjusted scoring tables are shown to neutralize this trend.
Conclusion. Current scoring standards for chin-up strength tests favor short statures. Bias-free chin-up strength tests can be achieved by using stature-adjusted scoring tables. Similar bias problems may exist for other strength tests.

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