HOW TO MEASURE YOUR FITNESS LEVEL
Measuring your fitness level is not about how tight your abs are, how you can lift the heaviest weights, or how fast you can cover a mile. And, while they do provide some amount of clue as to how fit you are, there are other less obvious ways to test your fitness. Here are 10 do-it-yourself fitness tests.
Resting Heart Rate for Aerobic Fitness
Your resting heart rate (RHR) tells the number of times that your heart beats when you are at rest. When you have a strong cardiovascular system, your heart is able to pump more blood with every beat. Therefore, a lower RHR corresponds to higher aerobic fitness. Measure your RHR by counting your radial pulse for a full minute in the morning before getting up.
- Below 60 = Good
- 61 to 80 = Average
- 81 to 100 = High
- Above 101 = Abnormally high
Push-Ups for Upper Body Muscular Endurance
Push-Ups will challenge the muscles in the upper arms, shoulders, and chest and will require good stability. Do push-ups with good technique: body in a straight line and head in line with the spine and the arms bended at least 90 degrees.
Above 30 for men and above 25 for women = Excellent
25 to 29 for men and 20 to 24 for women = Good
20 to 24 for men and 15 to 19 for women = Not Bad
Below 19 for men and below 14 for women = Poor
Head Turning for Neck Flexibility
Testing the flexibility of your neck will indicate how much stretching and mobilizing is still needed to fully protect it from getting tight. To test the flexibility of your neck, sit up tall and look straight ahead. Get an observer to tell you how much of your profile they can see when you rotate your head to the right and then to the left.
If you find out that there is a greater range of motion on one side than the other, incorporate stretching and mobilizing exercises into your workouts to further extend your flexibility.
12-Minute Run Test for Cardiovascular Capacity
This is a test that is mainly designed for running, although you can walk if necessary. Use a treadmill or a flat, measurable route. After warming up, run or walk at as fast a pace as you can. It should be at a speed that you can maintain for the rest of the test.
- Above 2.35 km = Excellent
- 2.14 to 2.33 km = Good
- 2.12 to 2.03 km = Fair
- Below 2.01 km = Poor
Plank for Core Stability
This test will measure the stability of your core, the deep stabilizing muscles of the trunk. If your core stability is poor, you will have a hard time holding this position. Lie on your stomach with your forearms on your sides. Tighten your core muscles, curl your toes, press down with your forearms and extend your legs to life your body. Look at the floor and hold this position for as long as you can.
- Above 1 minute = Excellent
- 30 to 6 seconds = Average
- Below 30 seconds = Poor
Loop-the-Loop for Shoulder Mobility
All those hours of working in front of the computer, watching TV, driving and even just sitting can cause poor posture, tightening up your shoulders and immobilizing your joints. Do this test by sitting or standing with your arms straight up. Bend your forearm from the elbow and reach your hand down between the shoulder blades. Take your left arm behind you and try to make the hands meet.
- Fingers link = Excellent
- Fingers touch = Good
- Gap of less than 2 inches = Fair
- Gap of more than 2 inches = Poor
Wet Footprint Test for Foot Strike Pattern
This test will tell you that type of foot and foot strike pattern that you have when running. You need to have plain concrete or a sheet of cardboard to walk on. Dunk your feet in water and walk across the surface of the concrete or cardboard. Take a look at the silhouette of your foot.
Toe prints with heel = High arches (most associated with under-pronation and over- supination)
Entire foot = Low or flat arches (associated with over-pronation)
Toes, forefoot and heel joined by broad band = Normal foot strike
Vertical Jump for Explosive Power
Power is the ability to quickly exert a force. A person who ahs lots of endurance but poor strength will be poor at this. To assess you power, stand next to a clear wall space and raise your arm that is closest to the wall. Just as high as you can and mark the spot that you can reach. Subtract your standing height from your jumping height.
- Above 70 cm for men and Above 60 cm for women = Very Good
- 51 to 60cm for men and 41 to 50 cm for women = Good
- 41 to 50 cm for men and 31 to 40 cm for women = Average
- Below 40 cm for men and below 30 cm for women = Below Average
Waist-to-Hip Ratio for Body Fat Distribution
Your waist-to-hip ratio assesses the proportion of fat that is stored around your waist compared to the girth of your hips. Having an apple shape has been found to be worse for health than a pear shape. Measure the widest past of your buttocks and the narrowest point of your waist. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to determine the ratio.
A healthy waist-to-hip ratio for men is less than 0.9. For women, a healthy waist-to-hip ratio is less than 0.8.
Wall Sit for Leg Strength and Endurance
In this test, you will sit on an "invisible chair” against a wall until your thighs tighten. Make sure that your knee and hip joints are at a right angle and start your stopwatch. Hold this position for as long as you can. Make sure that you continue to breathe freely.
- Above 76 seconds for men and above 46 seconds for women = Very Good
- 58 to 75 seconds for men and 36 to 45 seconds for women = Average
- 57 to 30 seconds for men and 35 to 20 seconds for women = Below Average
- Below 30 seconds for men and below 20 seconds for women = Poor
Make sure that you do not get too hung up with your classification (excellent, good, poor) on each exercise. See them as your guide to improve on.