Balance and Proprioception: Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT)

balance and proprioception May 22, 2023

The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is one of our favourite tests and one of the major reasons we developed the MAT to rid the world of ugly pieces of sports tape stuck to the floor of clinics and gyms everywhere. 

This assessment has been well researched to demonstrate high inter and intra assessment reliability and can be used to analyze flexibility, strength, balance, movement skill, and efficiency across the lower limb and trunk. It should be used as a staple balance assessment across any part of the lower limb.

Research has shown consistently that a 4cm or greater difference in balance reaches may indicate a risk of lower limb injury with certain directions having stronger correlations to particular conditions eg: Anterior Reach: Lateral Ankle Sprain, Posterior Medial: Soft Tissue Injuries, Posterior Lateral: Lower Back Pain.

Alternatively a Y Balance Composite Score Percentage can be calculated by taking the sum of 3 reach directions (Anterior, Posterior Medial, Posterior Lateral) divided by 3 times the limb length (measured from the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine to the Medial Malleolus) then multiplied by 100. Composite Scores of less than 89% have also been shown to be associated with the risk of lower limb injury and allow for standardization of reaches in individuals of different heights and limb lengths.

The SEBT can also be used to assess low level lower limb loading and function to determine the safety of an individual before progressing to isolated strength testing or training.


  1. Set up the MAT  on a flat surface with enough space for the client to move freely.
  2. Ask the client to remove any bulky clothing or accessories and remove their shoes and socks.
  3. Position the client in the centre of the circle at one end of the MAT, with one foot on the centre point, with their second toe aligned to the middle intersection. 
  4. With one foot raised, ensure the client holds their hands on their hips and maintains a stable position on one leg.
  5. Instruct the client to reach with their raised foot as far as possible. Have them move around the circle on the MAT, reaching three times in each of these directions: anterior, anterolateral, lateral, posteromedial, posterior and posterolateral.
  6. The client should touch the MAT with the tips of their toes without losing their balance or moving their base foot.
  7. Ask the individual to return to the starting position and repeat the reach test in the other five directions, forming a Star-shape.
  8. After completing all three reach tests, mark the furthest distance reached in each direction on the MAT.
  9. Record the results and repeat the same protocol on the opposite leg.

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