To establish the age- and sex-related normative values of sagittal alignment in asymptomatic Chinese adults, and to investigate the changes and possible associated compensation mechanisms across age groups. 584 asymptomatic Chinese adults aged 20–89 years were recruited. Subjects were grouped according to age and gender. Whole-body standing radiographs were acquired for evaluating sagittal alignment from spine to lower limb. Sagittal parameters between gender in different age groups were compared via independent t test. Pearson correlation analysis was used to demonstrate relationships between parameters. Thoracic kyphosis (TK) increased steadily while lumbar lordosis decreased gradually in both genders. Pelvic tilt (PT) in male is greater than in female across all age groups with age related gradual increase. There were significant differences between male and female from 20s to 60s in terms of knee flexion angle (KA) and ankle dorsiflexion angle (AA), but the differences were not significant after 60s. T1 pelvic angle (TPA) was significantly correlated with spinal, pelvic and lower-limb alignment. The older group (≥50 years) had a stronger correlation of TPA with PT and KA, whereas the younger (<50 years) had stronger correlation with TK. This study comprehensively presented the normative sagittal alignment based on a large asymptomatic population, which could serve as an age- and gender-specific reference value for spine surgeons when planning for correction surgery. Age can influence the recruitment of compensation mechanism that involve more pelvic and lower limb mechanisms for elderly people.