Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to test your fitness level

How fit are you? No doubt that evaluating your fitness level is of great importance, not for the propose of knowing only, but also to help you put the right training goals, expectations and efforts, in addition to continuously monitor progress as you go forward with your workout program.


What do fitness test look for exactly?


There is no one test that tells all about your fitness level, that’s why you need to perform many tests concerning all aspects of fitness, including:

  • Cardiovascular endurance: The ability of the circulatory system to supply oxygen-rich blood to working muscles during sustained physical activity.
  • Muscle strength and endurance: Maximum amount of force a muscle can perform against resistance, and the ability to maintain that force going as long as possible, respectively.
  • Flexibility: The ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion.

Together, these elements of fitness reflect fitness level of an individual, and for that; choose and perform at least one test for each of the next tests categories.

 

Cardiovascular Endurance Tests

1) 3-Minutes Step Test

This test aims to see how quickly your heart restores its normal beating rate after physical pressure performed for a while; it’s useful since it doesn’t require much equipment and only takes 3 minutes.

Equipment:

-30 cm step or stable box (if less than 30 cm your results won’t be accurate)

-Stop watch -you can use your mobile-

-A friend to count for you

-Metronome 

Procedure:

-Set the metronome to 98 beats per minutes.

-Begin the test; (98 beats cadences means about 24 steps per min), steeping pattern with your feet is up, up, down, down.

-Once the 3 minutes are over stop immediately, sit down on the step and take your pulse rate -at your wrist or neck- for a full minute.

Results:

Now see you value in the table to evaluate your level [1].

Pulse recovery step test

Excellent

Very Good

Average

Below Average

Poor

71 – 78 bpm

79 – 83 bpm

84 – 99 bpm

100 – 107 bpm

108 – 118 bpm

 

 

2) 12 Minutes Run-Walk Test

Cooper’s 12 minute run test goal is to make the participant go (even if walking) as far as possible and as fast as possible in the 12 minutes period in order to test his/her cardiovascular fitness level. It is a useful way to test fitness pre and post fitness programs, to measure progress as well. 

Equipment:

Stop watch, running track, marking flags or cones for distance measuring. 

Procedure:

Mark the distance for accurate measuring; begin the test, and run at constant speed if possible, as fast as you can until the end or the time period. 

Results:

Measure the distance that you reached, and see where it sets in the next table [1]:

Cooper 12 minute walk /Run Test

Classification

< 30 yr.

30-39 yr.

40-49 yr.

50+ yr.

Very poor

< 1.60 km

< 1.52

< 1.36

< 1.28

Poor

1.60 - 1.99

1.52 - 1.83

1.36 - 1.67

1.28 - 1.59

Fair

2.01 - 2.39

1.85 - 2.23

1.68 - 2.07

1.60 - 1.99

Good

2.41 - 2.80

2.25 - 2.63

2.09 - 2.47

2.01 - 2.39

Excellent

> 2.80

> 2.63

> 2.47

> 2.39

 

Even if you scored low in cardio test, remember to focus on progress, and that you can always take action to turn things around regarding your fitness.


Muscle strength and Endurance Tests

1) Push Up Test

Push up test is used to evaluate the upper body strength and endurance together, specifically muscles targeted in this exercise which are chest, triceps and shoulders.

Equipment:

None.

Procedure:

Get down on the flour and start doing push-ups, women have the option to perform knee push up, count every well performed rep until you reach exhaustion. 

Results:

See the evaluation that corresponds to your sex and number of reps you performed [2].

 

20-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60+

Men

 

Excellent

> 54

> 44

> 39

> 34

> 29

Good

45-54

35-44

30-39

25-34

20-29

Average

35-44

24-34

20-29

15-24

10-19

Poor

20-34

15-24

12-19

8-14

5-9

Very Poor

< 20

< 15

< 12

< 8

< 5

Women

Excellent

>48

>39

>34

>29

>19

Good

34-48

25-39

20-34

15-29

5-19

Average

17-33

12-24

8-19

6-14

3-4

Poor

6-16

4-11

3-7

2-5

1-2

Very Poor

< 6

< 4

< 3

< 2

< 1

 

2) Abdominal Test

Crunch test is used to asses abdominal endurance and strength, but if you have back or neck issues it better be avoided. 

Equipment:

None. 

Procedure:

Lay down on the flour as in regular crunch position, start doing reps until exhaustion, while counting. 

Results:

See the level that corresponds to your sex and number of reps accomplished in the table [2].

 

< 35 years

35-44 years

> 45 years

Men

Excellent

60

50

40

Good

45

40

25

Average

30

25

15

Needs work

15

10

5

Women

Excellent

50

40

30

Good

40

25

15

Average

25

15

10

Needs work

10

6

4

 

Want to boost up your abdomen strengthen? Click here.


Muscle strength Test

For more specific evaluation of your current muscle strength -and if you don’t have any type of injury, physical or health problems- measuring your 1 Repetition Maximum (1RM) is recommended to measure your muscle strength(who much weight can you lift). 

Equipment:

Exercise machines for upper and lower muscles. 

Procedure:

Follow these steps to measure your 1RM:

1- Select an exercise, for example leg press (for lower body strength), and bench press for (upper body strength).

2- Estimate a weight that you can push for 10 reps, let’s say 60 kg

3- Start doing the exercise, supposing you managed to perform 7 reps out of 10, see the percentage that correspond to the 7 reps in the table, which is 82.5%.

4- Divide the kilograms lifted by 0.822, = 73 kg this is your 1RM.

5- Now depending on your training objectives, chose weights that correspond to 55-85 % of your 1RM (higher than 85% is for very advanced lifters).

 

Number of Repetitions

Percent of Maximum %

1

100

2

95.0

3

92.5

4

90.0

5

87.5

6

85.0

7

82.2

8

80.0

9

77.5

10

75.0

 

Results:

Test and re-do the 1RM test every 4-6 weeks to evaluate your progress.

 

Flexibility Fitness

1) Sit and Reach Test

This test is used to measure the flexibility of lower back and hamstrings, the furthest you can reach while performing the test the more flexible you are. 

Equipment:

Ruler or measuring tape, or sit and reach test boxes if available. 

Procedure:

Sit on flour with knees held straight against the flour, shoes off, legs only slightly away from each other, with soles against the sit and reach box. If you are not using a box, then set soles against the bottom of a step (and put the ruler at edge of the stair). Now lean forward slowly and reach as far as possible, hold position and take measurement at the end of your fingertips. 

Results:

See your result in the table below [3]:

Flexibility evaluation

Males

Females

Excellent

>14

>15

Good

11-13

12-14

Average

7-10

7-11

Fair

4-6

4-6

Poor

<3

<3

 


2) Zipper Stretch Test

This one is to test your shoulder flexibility.

Equipment:

A ruler or a measuring tape, and a friend to take the measurement for you. 

Procedure:

Stand straight, take the right hand over the right shoulder, and bring your left hand over up the back. Let someone measure the distance between your hands for you. 

Results:

After taking the measurements, see the evaluation in the table:

Rating

Measurement

Good

Fingers are touching

Fair

Fingers not touching but distance is <5 cm

Poor

Fingers are >5 cm apart

 


I have made the fitness tests, now what?

Knowing where you stand now regarding your fitness level is your first step toward taking action.

Once you determine your goals and areas of weakness that YOU want to work on, you can now plan workout program the way that suits your goals. And keep on reevaluating your fitness level progress every 4-6 weeks.


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