Assessing physical performance

The SPPB is a series of physical performance tests used in older persons to assess lower extremity function and mobility. Dr. Jack Guralnik and colleagues developed this test battery at the National Institutes on Aging, using data from a large population-based epidemiologic study of older persons. 

The SPPB has had widespread use in observational studies, randomized controlled trials, and clinical settings across the globe in North and South America, Europe and Asia.     

The test captures limitations in lower extremity functioning that relate to gait, balance and strength. The SPPB has been demonstrated to have excellent psychometric properties and is predictive of a broad range of adverse outcomes, including mortality, incident disability, falls, hospitalization and healthcare utilization. It has been used as a primary outcome in a number of large clinical trials.    

This website is developed and maintained by Dr. Jack Guralnik to support proper administration and interpretation of this battery. It is critical the test be administered in a standardized manner to get comparable results across studies, particularly in diverse geographic areas. One key value of this battery is that results can easily be compared across countries with different languages. Please use the contact page if you have any questions or requests for additional information.   

Training Resources

The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) is an objective assessment tool for evaluating lower extremity functioning in older persons. It was developed by the National Institute on Aging and is available for use without permission or royalty fees. This site will allow you to download the contents of a training CD that includes comprehensive instructions on the administration of the battery, safety tips, a scoring sheet and background information on publications that support the methodology. These files may be used on your computer or written to a CD. A cover for the CD case is also available for downloading and printing.    

PC users should download and print the document "Tips for Windows 7 users" below (second bullet).

Go to NIA site 

  • When given option during download choose "Save File"
    • Note: This program will ONLY run on a PC.

Training Tips

The following is a talk by Dr. Jack Guralnik on tips for executing the SPPB. The training included in the CD above should be viewed prior to using these tips.   

additional references

Examples of Studies Using the SPPB - Click on Title to go to Abstract in PubMed

General methodological papers

Observational studies

SPPB used to screen for study eligibility

SPPB used as an outcome in an RCT

Smartphone app


The development of a smartphone app for the administration of the SPPB is currently being done in collaboration with Novartis.    If you would like to pilot test this app, please contact us.  


Please use the form below to contact Dr. Guralnik if you have any questions about the SPPB or requests for additional information.

SPPB Guide

(301) 602-1820