A physical therapist says you should do this exercise if you want to ace the sit/stand test when you're older

Build strength and mobility with this explosive move

Woman performs goblet squat at home holding pink kettlebell. She is standing barefoot on a green exercise mat, wearing beige athletic leggings and a white short sleeve top.
(Image credit: AzmanL / Getty Images)

It's a fact of life that our muscles and bones get weaker as we age, which makes it harder to do everyday tasks. One way to keep tabs on your strength and agility is by performing the sit/stand test, which challenges you to stand up five times from a chair within 10 seconds.

"If you manage it under 10 seconds, you're less at risk for falls. If it takes over 10 seconds, you're at more risk for falls. That's the test we use with the older population," says Dr Andy Fata Chan, physical therapy doctor, coach and founder of Moment Physical Therapy and Performance in New York.

About our expert
Dr Andy Fata-Chan headhost. He has short black hair and is wearing a dusty pink short-sleeved T-shirt and thin gold chain around his neck.
About our expert
Dr Andy Fata-Chan, PT, DPT

Dr. Fata-Chan received his bachelors in psychology from the University at Buffalo and his doctorate of physical therapy from the University of St. Augustine. His experiences range from training youth athletes and weekend warriors, to working with Olympic and professional-level competitors.

If you want to maintain the strength and mobility necessary for this task, Fata-Chan says you should start exercising now: "I recommend strength training two days a week. On top of that, try getting anywhere from 150 to 300 minutes of cardio. This doesn't mean that you need to be running the whole time. This could just mean you're taking your dog for a really long walk or going on a bike ride."

Fata-Chan also has a tip for how to get the most out of your strength workouts—focus on specific moves to maintain the power and explosive strength you need for the sit/stand test. "That's the first thing that goes when we age," says Fata-Chan. "We lose our ability to express force quickly."

Fata-Chan suggests increasing the speed at which you move during strength training, rather than always aiming to lift heavier weights. Try taking this approach with a goblet squat, which he's demonstrated below. This move will strengthen your lower-body muscles, particularly those in your thighs and buttocks; pushing back up to standing more quickly will help you build explosive power.

How to do the explosive goblet squat

Man in gym performing goblet squat holding kettlebell. His knees are bent, his hips are pushed back and the kettlebell is held just below his chin in both hands. The model is wearing a blue T-shirt and white baseball cap, shorts and trainers.

(Image credit: Courtesy Dr Andy Fata-Chan)

Reps: 5 Sets: 3

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing out. Hold a medium light weight close to your chest. You don’t want to use a heavy load when you’re trying to move quickly.
  • Keeping your chest upright, push your hips back and bend your knees as if you're sitting down in a chair. Don't let your knees cave in, they should remain directly above your feet. Actively pushing your knees out as you squat can help you achieve the correct alignment.
  • Quickly lower your body until your hips are in line with or below your knees (or lower as far as your current mobility allows).
  • Push explosively through your heels to return to standing as quickly as possible, then immediately go into the next squat. You should notice at the end of the fifth repetition that you’re starting to move more slowly as your body tires.
Ruth Gaukrodger
Fitness Editor

Ruth Gaukrodger is the fitness editor for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, responsible for editing articles on everything from fitness trackers to walking shoes. A lot of her time is spent setting up testing protocols for our in-depth buying guides and making sure everything is reviewed to a set standard, so you can be confident we only recommend the best products on the market.

When she's not wrestling with equipment in our dedicated testing centre, you can find her pursuing running PBs around the streets of London or improving her yoga skills from the comfort of her living room. She’s a keen believer in working out for enjoyment first and is always open to hearing about new, fun ways to exercise.