Some fitness testing protocols do not have to be left to the professionals. You can identify and track your progress in strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness by performing a few specific exercise tests.
How To Track Your Progress with Fitness Testing
Perform a duration test using a treadmill. As fast as possible, after a short warm up, run, walk, or use a combination of both to cover a distance of 1.5 or 2 miles. Record the amount of time it takes you to complete this distance. Use this as your base. Eight weeks later, repeat the test to determine your improvements.
If you do not have access to a treadmill, you can perform a step test using an aerobic step or another type of platform. For women, the step height should be 16 inches and for men the height should be 20 inches. Without a warm-up, step onto and off the step at a rate of 30 steps per minute. Perform this for five minutes, or until you are unable to continue. Immediately following, count your pulse for 30 seconds. Multiply the result by two to get your heart rate beats per minute. Repeat the test two or three months later. You see cardiovascular improvement when your heart rate is not as high as it was previously.
Calculate how many push-ups you can perform without stopping. Women can perform push-ups on knees until strength allows you to complete push-ups on your toes.
Calculate the number of sit-ups you can perform in 60 seconds. Keep your knees bent and touch your upper-back to the floor between each repetition.
Record the number of barbell bench presses you can perform. Women use 35 pounds. Men use 80 pounds. Since an Olympic bar weighs 45 pounds, you may have to use a standard bar or a pair of dumbbells. As long as you use the same weight each time you test, you can get an accurate measurement.
You can perform all three of these tests or select one or two. The idea is for you to keep track of your progress. As your strength improves, you are hoping to see an increase in the number of push-ups, sit-ups or bench press repetitions that you can complete.
The Sit and Reach Flexibility test can be duplicated to determine if you are making strides in your range of motion. Place a yardstick or ruler on the floor. Sit with your legs straight in front of you and on both sides of the yard stick. Place the beginning of the yard stick or the zero mark, in line with your knees. If you’re using a ruler, you may need to position the zero mark in line with your feet. Sit up tall, straighten your arms in front of you and place one hand over the top of the other with your palms facing down. Lean forward from your waist, leaving your bottom on the floor and your knees straight. Reach as far forward as possible and record the number you can touch. Track your progress by seeing improvements in the distance you can reach. You may need assistance with this test, so ask for a partner to hold the measuring stick in place for accurate tracking.