Every now and then (once every four to six weeks), it’s crucial to test how well your body can move.
Measuring your fitness tangibles—strength, speed, power, endurance, etc.—allows you to establish starting points against which achievable goals can be set.
Performing fitness tests at regular intervals can help you track your progress towards reaching those goals.
These tests measure several components of athletic performance, meaning the ability to respond effectively to various physical demands. You can also use Aaptiv’s workouts to test your bodies fitness capabilities.
These tests require zero or little equipment so you can do them at home, on the go, or at the gym.
Do these six fitness tests to push your limits and track your journey to becoming a stronger, more advanced athlete.
Test 1: Dead Hang
Physical Ability: Support Grip Strength
Equipment Needed: Pull-up bar or sturdy overhead structure
Support grip strength is a grip that involves maintaining a hold on something for a long period of time. Your fingers, forearms, back, and arm muscles must be strengthened to increase support grip. Aside from holding more groceries on the way into the house, support grip can also help you get better at pull-ups, deadlifts, and even playing with energy-filled kids.
How To Do It
Start the timer on a stopwatch. Grip a pull-up bar, or any sturdy overhead structure, with a pronated (overhand) grip using both hands. Your arms should be hanging straight down with your shoulders pushed back; hang on for as long as you can. Beginners should try to hold on for one minute, holding on in increments of 15-30 seconds. Intermediate to advanced fitness enthusiasts can work up to a two minute hold.
Test 2: 1.5 Mile Run
Physical Ability: Aerobic Capacity
Equipment Needed: At least ¼ mile of outdoor running space
Aerobic capacity is the maximum rate at which someone can produce energy through using carbohydrates, fats, and proteins as energy sources. It’s usually measured as a volume of oxygen consumed per kilogram of bodyweight per minute. The one-and-a-half mile run is best performed outdoors since it will best estimate how your body consumes oxygen. Runners, triathletes, obstacle course racers, or anyone looking to get more fit can benefit from improving their one-and-a-half mile run time.
How To Do It
Start the stopwatch and run as quickly as possible at a steady pace that you can barely maintain over the entire distance. If running on a 400-meter track, six laps would be one-and-a-half miles. Otherwise, use a watch that tracks distance or a cell phone app to measure one-and-a-half miles. Intermediate athletes should aim for 12-18 minutes while advanced athletes should go for under 12 minutes.
Test 3: Maximum Burpees in 5 Minutes
Physical Ability: Aerobic Capacity, Functional Strength
The burpee is a full body exercise that is generally broken into four positions: chest to ground position, standing, a jump into the air, and hands over ears. The move is a good indicator of leg/upper body strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. The Spartan SGX Coach Fit Test calls for doing as many burpees as possible in five minutes; this might be because if you fail an obstacle at a Spartan Race, you must complete 30 burpees.
How To Do It
From a standing position, do a squat, making sure to keep your back straight and core engaged. Place both hands on the ground underneath you and jump both legs back so that you’re in a push-up position. Do a push-up so that your chest touches the ground; return to the low squat position. Now, jump up with your feet off the ground and raise your hands above your ears. For women, anywhere between 30 and 80 is a good goal with 80 burpees for ages 20-29 being ideal. For men, anywhere from 40-85 is a nice target, with 85 burpees being a good finish for ages 20-29.
Test 4: 300 Yard Shuttle
Physical Ability: Anaerobic Capacity
Anaerobic capacity is the most amount of energy you can produce by the phosphagen and glycolytic energy systems for 30-90 seconds. These two energy systems use carbohydrates for energy during workouts. CrossFitters, obstacle course racers, and soccer, football, and hockey players are used to this “stop-and-go” type of movement.
How to Do It
Set up a running lane so that there are two horizontal parallel lines 25 yards apart. Begin behind one of the lines. Start the timer and sprint to the line that’s 25 yards away, making foot contact with it; then, sprint back to the first line. Do six round trips (12 total trips). For recreational male and female athletes, 70-80 seconds is a good time.
Test 5: Broad Jump
Physical Ability: Muscular Power
The broad jump, or long jump, measures how far you can jump in front of you. While this test is measured in feet and inches, it’s also an indicator of anaerobic power—the ability of muscles to produce a lot of force quickly. The broad jump literally takes about one second, so it’s important to learn how to properly load up the energy in your muscles and release it for takeoff.
How To Do It
Set down a tape measure vertically on the ground. Start with both feet perpendicular to and behind the “0.” Do this test on a surface that isn’t concrete in case you fall forward/backward, and to avoid a hard landing in general. Get into a comfortable upright stance with feet shoulder-width apart. Pump both arms backward as you slightly bend the knees and push your butt back. Explosively jump forward and up using both arms to assist. Land on both feet, with heels touching the ground; where the back of your heel land is the number of inches you jumped.
Test 6: Bodyweight Conditioning
Physical Ability: Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance is the ability of certain muscles to perform repeated contractions against a light load. Basically, endurance measures how many reps you can do or how long your muscles can withstand stress. This test contains three exercises and gauges the endurance of your upper body and core muscles.
How To Do It
- Maximum Push-ups in Two Minutes: Get into the top of a push-up position by placing hands shoulder-width apart and elbows and body straight. Women can start on their knees, with ankles raised and crossed. For men, bend your elbows and lower yourself towards the ground until your chest hits the ground. Women can make torso contact with a foam roller on the ground below them. Push yourself back up to the starting position so that your arms are straight. Intermediate fitness enthusiasts should aim for ten to 19 pushups, while more advanced trainees will go for 20+ reps.
- Maximum Pull-ups Without Letting Go: Using an overhand grip, place your hands wider than shoulder width on a pull-up bar. Engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar. Beginners can use an assisted pull-up machine or record how much of one pull-up they can do, whether it be one-quarter or a half; once you let go of the bar, this portion of the test is over. Beginners will not be able to do a single pullup which is OK! Intermediate fitness folks should be able to do three pull-ups, while advanced athletes should aim for four to ten reps for three sets.
- Maximum Sit-ups in Two Minutes: Lie on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees. Place your hands behind your ears. Bring your torso towards your knees, until the elbows touch the knees; return back to the starting position. You may want to anchor your feet under a ledge or have a partner hold your feet down with their hands or knees. Beginners will do 20-40, while more advanced athletes will aim for 50-80 situps in two minutes.
For these kinds of workouts and more, be sure to download the Aaptiv app to work out to the newest class releases.
Mark Barroso, NSCA-CPT is a certified personal trainer, Spartan SGX Coach, writer, and founder of Barrosofit, a digital resource to inspire people of all ages to reach happiness and purpose through physical activity.