Before you create a fitness plan or workout program, you must take a fitness level test to determine where you stand in the fitness world.
Workouts or exercises should be safe and exciting and part of ensuring a safe workout is to know your strengths and weaknesses so you can create a plan to build on your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
The good thing is that you don’t have to go to a laboratory or physiotherapist (you can go if you can afford it) to determine your fitness level.
In this article, I will explain 3 tests to determine your fitness level with just homemade materials.
Three (3) Tests to determine your fitness level
There are different types of fitness level tests used to determine fitness level. But it all found their base in these three tests.
To determine your fitness level, you have to test for aerobic fitness, muscular endurance, and flexibility.
1. Aerobic Fitness Test
The first fitness level test is the Resting Heart Rate (RHR) which is a good indicator of your aerobic fitness level. Your RHR represents your heartbeat in a minute.
A strong cardiovascular system means the heart pumps more blood with every beat, so the number of heartbeats should be relatively low (not too low).
RHR is measured in two ways; placing two fingers on the carotid artery (on the neck just below the jawline) or on the radial artery (wrist) and count the number of beats in 10 seconds.
Taking the first beat as zero, you multiply the total number of beats in 10seconds by 6. That way, you will get the total number of heartbeats in 60seconds.
Compare your result with the following table;
|Heart Beat Per Minute||Indication|
|Beats ≤ 60 (less than or equal to)||Good|
|Beats = 61 – 80||Average|
|Beats = 81 – 100||High, but still acceptable (more cardio)|
|Beat ≥ 101||Seek medical attention!!|
Some well-trained athletes have RHR of 40! The more you train, the fitter you will become and the lower your RHR.
2. Muscular Endurance and Strength
The second fitness level test is the Muscular Endurance & Strength test.
When testing for muscular strength and endurance, you will test for upper and lower body muscular strength.
For upper body muscular strength, push-ups are very effective (either classic or modified pushups) as a measure of strength and fitness level.
To perform a classic pushup:
- Get down on all fours with your feet together, elbows bent, head in a straight line with your spine.
- Lower your body until your chin is almost touching the floor.
- Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat until you need to rest.
If you find it difficult to do the classic push-ups, try the modified push-up by pivoting at your knees i.e. forming an incline (slope) starting at your knees.
Compare your result with this table;
|Number of push-ups||Indication|
|Reps ≥ 30 (Men)|
Reps ≥ 25 (Women)
|Reps = 25 -29 (Men)|
Reps = 20 – 24 (Women)
|Reps = 20 – 24 (Men)|
Reps = 15 – 19 (Women)
|Reps ≤ 19 (Men)|
Reps ≤ 14 (Women)
For lower body muscular strength, bodyweight squat is recommended because it mobilizes all the muscles below the waist.
To perform a bodyweight squat;
- Stand with your feet apart
- Bend your knees and push your hips back until your thighs form an angle 90 with your knees
- Return to your starting position as fast as possible and do this for 60 seconds
To determine your fitness level from your result;
Beginner ≤ 20 reps
Intermediate = 20 – 40 reps
Advanced = more than 40
The truth is that most people don’t take the flexibility test serious and just want to hit the gym or race track ASAP.
But flexibility test is essential in every fitness program as poor flexibility can hamper athletic performance (you don’t want to pull a muscle 1 minute into your cardio program).
The Sit and Reach test is a very common flexibility test to measure the lower back and hamstring flexibility.
To perform the Sit and Reach test;
- Secure a yardstick to the ground and place tape on 15inch mark
- Sit on the floor with the yardstick between your legs
- Reach forward as far as you can go and note the measurement of your maximum extension
- Repeat the procedure three times and take the average of the measurements
To determine your flexibility level, compare your result with the table below;
|Result in centimeters (cm)||Indication|
|≥ 34||≥ 37||Excellent|
|28 – 34||33 – 36||Good|
|23 – 27||29 – 32||Average|
|16 – 22||23 – 28||Below average (stretch often)|
|≤ 16||≤ 23||Poor (do more stretch programs e.g. yoga)|
Now that you know the fitness level tests and your fitness level, you need to use it to plan your workout routine to improve on your fitness level and also build on your strength.
Whatever the result of your fitness test is, don’t fret. Fitness is for everyone and everybody, and there are no disadvantages in the fitness world. Whatever program you do, it will surely benefit you in the long run.
Let us hear from you what your result is, the comment box is there for you!!