14 Jun The top 5 fitness tests you should be using
Every new client I train, I always start with a series of fitness tests to see how strong they are in relation to strength, agility and cardio. No one likes tests and it is the same with fitness but this is important as this indicates where your strengths and weaknesses are and also when you do the same tests again, you can see just how much you have improved.
So if you are looking at ways to measure your fitness, here are my top 5 tests you can use:
1. The Beep Test
This is the one of the best ways to test your aerobic fitness – the test involves continuous shuttle runs between two lines 20 metres apart in time to recorded beeps (hence why it is called the beep test). You stand behind one of the lines facing the second line, and begin running when instructed by the recording (I just use a phone app). The speed at the start is quite slow but don’t let this fool you. After about one minute, a sound indicates an increase in speed, and the beeps will be closer together. This continues each minute (level). If the line is reached before the beep sounds, you must wait until the beep before continuing. The test is stopped when you can’t meet the line for two consecutive ends.
2. The Pushup test
The pushup is the best move for your upper body. All you do for this test is do as many pushups as you can. Now a push up begins with the hands and toes touching the floor, the body and legs in a straight line, feet slightly apart, the arms at shoulder width apart, extended and at a right angles to the body. Keeping the back and knees straight, the subject lowers the body (say a few inches from the floor or where there is a 90-degree angle at the elbows), then returns back to the starting position with the arms extended.
3. The Hover test
Core strength is important for any exercise you do plus in helps to prevent lower back injury so this test is perfect to measure the endurance of your abdominals.
To find the the hover position, place elbows beneath shoulders, and ground the forearms. Walk your feet back onto the toes. Maintain a straight plank position, keep your head and neck in line with your spine and contract your abdominal wall for support.
If there is any change in position, if you drop to your knees or feel it more in the back than the tummy, then that’s when you stop the test. I like to get clients to aim for three minutes for those abs of steel.
4. The Illinois agility test
This is a good one to test the speed, movement, direction and agility of a person – really important if you play any sports or if you want to become a better athlete.
The length of the course is 10 meters and the width (distance between the start and finish points) is 5 meters. Four cones are used to mark the start, finish and the two turning points. Another four cones are placed down the center an equal distance apart. Each cone in the center is spaced 3.3 meters apart. Subjects should lie on their front (head to the start line) and hands by their shoulders. On the ‘Go’ command the stopwatch is started, and the athlete gets up as quickly as possible and runs around the course in the direction indicated, without knocking the cones over, to the finish line, at which the timing is stopped.
This test is actually used by the police force and it shows how quickly they react and hopefully catch the bad guys.
5. Flexibility test
I always like to finish an assessment with a check of flexibility to see how flexible or tight a person is in their joints and muscles. A simple way is to first remove your shoes and sit on a flat surface, legs extended in front of your body, toes pointing up and feet slightly apart, with the soles of the feet against the base of the step (if there is no step, just any flat surface will do). Place the ruler on the ground between your legs or on the top of the step. Place one hand on top of the other, then reach slowly forward. At the point of your greatest reach, hold for a couple of seconds, and measure how far you have reached.
As a final note, there are lots of other tests you can do at home such as sit ups, squats, vertical jumps and step ups. Write down what you achieved, make a goal on what you want to achieve and then test yourself again. You may be surprised as to how much stronger and fitter you get.