How Fit Are You?
Most people when beginning a fitness routine are always nervous about how fit they are. Without hesitation, this becomes a stumbling block for many beginners because they automatically worry they are not even fit enough to begin a serious exercise routine. Nonetheless, most people are actually fit enough to begin a serious exercise routine. The best way to find out where you stand in terms strength, cardiovascular and mobility are to conduct some basic fitness tests.
Test: Stability & Mobility
Equipment Required: None
This is one of the best exercise routines to test your stability and mobility. It requires head-to-toe coordination, and will prepare you for nearly any routine. You want to begin with your feet directly under your hips, toes pointed straight ahead. Lift your arms so your biceps line up with your ears, and then bend your hips and knees to sit as low as possible without letting your heels leave the floor. Aim your hips below your knees, keeping your knees in line with your toes, and torso upright as possible. Now, if you don’t nail it your first time, keep giving it a try.
If you can only squat above your knees, or heels come off the floor you’ll need to improve, so continue to practice this routine. If your hips can go below your knees, heels remain on the floor, and torso remains upright, you’re in pretty good condition!
Tests: Core Strength
Equipment Needed: Water Bottle
Most fitness beginners associate core strength with 6-pack abs. This is only part of it. Core strength means having complete control over your spine and hips in any situation. This where the classic plank comes in.
You want to test yourself by supporting yourself on your forearms (as pictured above), with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Now place a water bottle lengthwise on your lowerback so it makes contact with your back and your butt. You want to then dig your toes into the ground and straighten your legs so your body makes a straight line from head-to-toe. Now brace your abs as if they were about to be punched. Breathe normally, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Don’t move a muscle! If the water bottle rolls off, this means you’ve lost your core position. If you can hold the plank position for less than 10 seconds, you’ll need to practice this exercise until you can hold the position for 20 seconds+. Remember, you have to maintain alignment from head-to-toe.
Tests: Upper-Body Strength
Equipment Required: None
Pushups are universal basic exercise we’re familiar with. From intermediate school to the military, pushups are used to build shoulder and arms. We add a twist for our fitness test by using a bottoms-up pushup to test how your upper body and core work together.
You’re going to lay face down on the floor with your thumbs under your armpits. Straighten your legs with your feet together and toes dug into the ground. Tighten your abs, squeezing your glutes, and push yourself into the top of the pushup position. This must be done in one smooth motion. If you can maintain a straight line from head-to-toe, while doing the pushup you’ve passed! However, if you can’t do this with a single pushup, we recommend you continue to practice.
Equipment Needed: 12″ step, stopwatch, metronome
Cardiovascular fitness is the best indicator of health. If your heart and lungs are unable to pump oxygen-rich blood effectively, fatigue sets in, and your struggle with your workouts. So the best way to find out is the step test.
Set your metronome (if you don’t have one, you can check out many of the free, available apps) to 96 beats per minute, and your stopwatch for 3 minutes, now start!
- Beat #1: Step up with one foot
- Beat #2: Step up with the other foot
- Beat #3: Step down with one foot
- Beat #4: Step down with the other foot.
Repeat the above for 3 minutes, then immediately sit down and check your heart rate for 15 seconds. Then multiply that number by 4 to get your BPM (Beats Per Minutes). The lower BPM, the fitter you are. If your BPM IS higher than 120, you’ll need to improve.
You can complete any of these 4 fitness tests in the privacy of your home, or outdoors. Regardless whether you’re just beginning a fitness routine or advanced in your fitness routine it’s a good idea to test yourself!