• The FRT was originally designed as a simple reach test designed to assess standing balance.
  • This modified version is designed to assess sitting balance in individuals with SCI (i.e. modified FRT). Balance is defined as the ability to maintain control over upright posture during forward reach without stabilization.

Clinical Considerations

  • The mFRT mimics a very functional activity that is required in daily living. It can distinguish between individuals who have abdominal and back extensors (i.e. high tetraplegia/high paraplegia versus low paraplegia) but not between individuals with high lesions.
  • The mFRT has been developed specifically for individuals with SCI. As long as an individual has 90 degrees of shoulder flexion, he/she should be able to complete the test.
  • The mFRT requires an individual to have 90 degrees of shoulder flexion and it is therefore not suitable for individuals with limited range of motion or musculoskeletal deformity.

ICF Domain

Activity ▶ Mobility


  • The individual is seated on a bench and the maximum distance forward they can reach is measured with the upper extremity flexed to 90 degrees. The anatomical landmark is the ulnar styloid process.
  • No weight bearing is allowed through the non reaching arm.
  • The individual is allowed two practice trials and then the following three trials are recorded.
  • Administration takes approximately 5 minutes.

Number of Items



  • A meter stick/yardstick (attached horizontally to the wall)
  • a seat (mat or bench approximately 61 cm in width)
  • a backboard (at an angle of 80 degrees).


The average of the three trials is reported in cm.



Training Required

No formal training is required.


Can be found here.

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 1


MCID: not established
SEM and MDC for mFRT for each group (calculated from Lynch et al. 1998):

SEM (cm)

MDC (cm)

Group 1 (C5-C6)



Group 2 (T1-T4)



Group 3 (T10-12)



  • No normative data or cut-points have been established for the SCI population
  • Published data for the SCI population is available for comparison (see the Interpretability section of the Study Details page)


Intra-rater reliability is High for the mFRT (ICC = 0.85-0.94).

(Lynch et al. 1998)


No values have been reported for the validity of the mFRT for the SCI population.


No values have been reported for the responsiveness of the mFRT for the SCI population.

Floor/Ceiling Effect

No values were reported for the presence of floor/ceiling effects in the mFRT for the SCI population.


Dr. William Miller, Christie Can

Date Last Updated

28 November 2016

Lynch SM, Leahy P, Barker SP. Reliability of measurements obtained with a modified functional reach test in subjects with spinal cord injury. Phys Ther 1998;78:128-133.