Test your fitness levels

How to assess your current fitness

There are a variety of ways a healthy adult can test their fitness to establish what kind of shape they’re in. Some like to throw themselves into the 12 minute run fitness test where you try and cover as much distance as possible in the allotted time. Others prefer to concentrate on their strength and mobility and gauge their fitness according to their ability to excel at muscular strength tests.

The reality is that overall fitness is comprised of all of these elements and so perhaps the best indication of your abilities is to undertake a series of tests examining endurance, muscle strength, core strength, aerobic fitness levels and mobility/flexibility.

There are lots of fitness tests available which can be done at home or in the gym. If you do come in at below average on any of the scores, don’t be too despondent. These are just suggested tests to get you on the way and the hope is that whatever score you achieve, you will want to improve it with your own fitness campaign. Here we’ve pulled together a selection of some of the potential options to give you a general idea of your overall fitness.

Run a mile

In terms of aerobic fitness running a mile is a great test of your cardiovascular fitness (or ‘stamina’). How quickly you can complete the distance it is a reflection of how efficiently your heart and lungs are working. If you want to improve your time then a combination of long runs, interval sessions, hill and tempo runs will help get your PB down.

Excellent =  6 mins or under

Good = 6-8mins

Average = 8-10 mins

Poor = 10 mins+

500m Rowing test

When you think of rowing you tend to think of Olympic athletes powering down a 2000m straight. For the purposes of this test though you only need to row 500m to assess your overall body strength and fitness. Rowing requires co-ordination of the arms, legs, back and core and is a fantastic calorie burning exercise. Make sure you start every stroke with your legs fully extended and the handle pulled up to your body which is leaning back slightly. Then bend your legs as you slide forward and drive backwards powerfully while you straighten your legs.

2 mins or under = Excellent

2-3 mins = Good

3-4 mins = Average

Over 4 mins = Poor

In terms of core and muscular strength we have chosen 3 of the most popular and hopefully easy to do exercises, to give you a general idea of fitness levels.

Press ups

This is a test of upper body strength with a real focus on shoulders, chest and triceps. The aim is to keep your body in a straight line from head to toe whilst supporting your weight on your arms. Make sure your hands are no farther apart than shoulder width and keep the balls of your feet on the ground. Lower your chest gently until it touches the floor and then push yourself back up again.

Excellent = 40+   

Good = 30-40

Average = 20-30

Poor = 20 or below

Abdominal Plank

The plank is a test of core strength. As well as pushing the abdominal muscles to keep the hold stable, in order to remain straight during the exercise, the glutes, hips and buttocks are all extremely important too. Unlike the press up where your weight is held by your locked arms, the plank relies on your elbows and the balls of your feet to support your weight. Make sure your feet are no further than waist width apart. The idea is to hold this position for as long as you can.

Excellent = 3 mins+

Good = 2 mins+

Average = 1 min+

Poor = less than 1 min

Bodyweight squat

This is designed to examine the strength of your core, quads and hamstrings. Supporting your weight with your shoulders and arms spread your feet shoulder width apart and make sure they are in line with your knees. Bring your legs up to your chest and then pump them back to their starting position. Repeat this as many times as you can.

50 or more reps  =  Excellent

30–49    =    Good

16–29    =   Average

15 or fewer  =  Poor

Remember there are a host of different exercises with different parameters you could try to see how your scores compare. The important thing is to get a general idea of how you’re doing and then work on any areas of weakness.

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