PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to develop a standardized test to evaluate functional performance, including arm activity, of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. METHODS: Fifty-seven patients (mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second % predicted = 46) were recruited to measure reproducibility (n = 10) of a grocery shelving task (GST) over 6 weeks without intervention and responsiveness (n = 47) of the task following a 6-week pulmonary rehabilitation program. In 25 of these patients, the pattern and magnitude of cardiorespiratory responses during the task were compared with the unsupported upper limb exercise test. RESULTS: Time taken to perform the GST was highly reproducible over a 6-week period (ICC = 0.97). Patients demonstrated a significant 8.0% improvement (95% CI, 4.6-11.3) on the task following pulmonary rehabilitation. There were significant correlations for peak cardiorespiratory responses between the GST and the unsupported upper limb exercise test. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that a standardized GST is a reproducible, valid, and responsive functional outcome measure that incorporates unsupported arm activity for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.