The effects of reach distance and type of task on the functional relationship between the trunk, upper limb segments and the lower limbs during self-paced reaching in sitting were examined. Two-dimensional kinematic, kinetic and electromyography (EMG) data were collected as six healthy subjects reached forward under three distance (60, 100, 140% arm's length) and two task (reaching to press a switch, reaching to grasp a glass) conditions. The results demonstrate that type of task affected primarily the temporal aspects of coordination, with the grasp task taking consistently longer than the press task. In contrast, reach distance affected both the spatio-temporal aspects of coordination between the trunk and arm segments and the active contribution of the lower limbs. As reach distance increased, the magnitude of trunk and upper-arm segmental motion increased, whereas forearm segmental motion decreased. However, at each reach distance the path of the hand was relatively straight and there was remarkable consistency in the relationship between trunk and arm segments both within and between subjects suggesting that despite the presence of redundant degrees of freedom, the individual uses a parsimonious coordinative pattern. The vertical ground reaction force (GRF) and EMG data demonstrated that the lower limbs actively contributed to support the body mass when the object was located at 140% arm's length. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.