Introducing a Third Timed Up & Go Test Trial Improves Performances of Hospitalized and Community-Dwelling Older Individuals

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Background and Purpose:

Originally, the Timed Up & Go (TUG) test was described as including a practice trial before a timed trial, but recent studies in individuals with hip fracture have reported that performance improved with a third trial and that high intertester reliability was achieved when the fastest of 3 timed trials was used. Thus, the fastest of 3 TUG trials is recommended when testing individuals with hip fracture. To our knowledge, no study has examined the number of trials needed to achieve performance stability on the TUG test (defined as no further improvement on subsequent trials) when performed by older individuals without hip fracture. The aim of the study, therefore, was to examine whether a third TUG trial is faster than either of 2 TUG trials conducted according to standardized TUG instructions and whether the fastest of 3 trials is the most appropriate measure to apply in hospitalized and community-dwelling older individuals.


Eighty-two participants (50 from a geriatric hospital unit and 32 from an outpatient geriatric center; 52 women, 30 men) with a mean (SD) age of 83.6 (7.9) years were included in this cross-sectional study. All participants (except one from the hospital unit) performed 3 TUG trials, as fast as safely possible on the same day, and separated by up to 1-minute pauses. A rollator (4-wheeled rolling walker) was used as a standardized walking aid in the geriatric hospital unit, whereas participants used their normal walking aid (if any) in the outpatient geriatric center.

Results and Discussion:

The fastest trial was trial 3 for 47 (57%), trial 2 for 25 (31%), and trial 1 for 10 (12%). Repeated-measures analyses of variance with Bonferroni corrections showed that TUG times improved from trial 1 to trial 3 (P < .04). In addition, the fastest of the 3 timed trials was significantly (P < .001) faster than the other 2 trials.


We suggest that the fastest of the 3 TUG trials is recorded instead of the second trial in both hospitalized and community-dwelling older individuals.

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