Sunday, 9 November 2014

4 Ways To Test Your Fitness

There’s something about spring that just makes you want to set a few goals. Seeing as this is the season of “new” and “fresh” and “hope”, it makes sense that you feel most motivated to chase down your wildest fitness dreams at this time of year.
At the moment we’re getting a LOT of questions about how people can go about measuring their fitness without necessarily just going for a good old fashioned run and seeing how quickly they can get from point A to point B.
So, today we bring you four of our favourite fitness tests that require no equipment at all, are actually pretty fun and will test your upper and lower body strength, cardio/endurance and full body conditioning.
Attempt the one or two most relevant for you, or heck, do ‘em ALL! I recommend picking a day of the week that’s ‘fitness test day’ and completing one of these tests on that day, each week throughout the month (e.g. cardio on Monday of week 1, upper body strength on Monday of week 2, etc), then starting again once you’ve done them all.
This way you get through each test every month and can track your progress over a 3, 6, or 9-month period to see how much you improve.
Good luck BUFettes!

TEST #1 – Full Body Conditioning

Welcome to the 7-Minute Burpee Test! This is a really simple way to test your fitness and the ultimate mental strength measure too. All you have to do is complete as many full burpees as possible (meaning both your chest and hips must touch the floor at the bottom of every rep), within 7 minutes. Get tactical about it – perhaps you want to go hard at the start to get ahead, or maybe slow and steady wins the race for you. Just make sure you keep moving for the entire time and try to beat your own score each time you re-do it… or try and beat my last score, which was 115.

TEST #2 – Lower Body Strength/Endurance

This test is literally identical to TEST #1, with only the exercise itself being different. Welcome to the 7-Minute Air Squat Test! Simply complete as many bodyweight squats as you can within 7 minutes. For a rep to count towards your total, your heels must stay on the ground, your knees mustn’t come forward over your toes (push your hips back and down instead of forward) and your butt must come down low enough to be parallel to the ground. My last score was 350 squats – try and beat me, or challenge a friend!

TEST #3 – Cardio Fitness

You can choose to tailor this 12-minute cardio fitness test in a way that suits you. If you love longer runs, simply strap on a GPS watch, or jump on a treadmill and run as far as you can in 12 minutes. Record your distance and try to beat it next time. Or if you’re like me and prefer something a little shorter and quicker, simply decide on two markers to run between, anything from trees, to fences, or sports cones – make sure they’re around 50-100m apart – then run between them as many times as you can within 12 minutes. Make sure you use the same markers next time too! Still too boring? Why not make yourself a bit of an obstacle course, or parkour circuit, and see how many times you can complete it within the 12 minutes.

TEST #4 – Upper Body Strength/Endurance

OK this one is super tough, but so satisfying when you improve and a good way to test your all-round upper body strength.
You have 3 exercises, all of which you’ll try to complete within 60 seconds. If you finish all your reps before the minute ends, you get the remainder of that minute as rest. For example, if you finish all the exercises in 42 seconds, you’ll get 18 seconds of downtime before starting up again as soon as the next minute arrives. The goal is to see how many minutes you can get through before you can no longer complete everything within 60 seconds.
Now here’s the catch: every minute, the number of pushups you have to complete increases by 1 rep. See below for a rundown of the exercises for each set and how it all works.
Round 1
  • 5 x Supergirl (Prone) Rows OR 6 x Heavy Dumbbell Plank Rows (harder)
  • 5 x Pushups
  • 40 x Mountain Climbers

Round 2
  • 5 x Supergirl Rows OR 6 x Heavy Dumbbell Plank Rows
  • 6 x Pushups
  • 40 x Mountain Climbers

Round 3
  • 5 x Supergirl Rows OR 6 x Heavy Dumbbell Plank Rows
  • 7 x Pushups
  • 40 x Mountain Climbers
And on it goes… so at minute number 10, you’d be cranking out 15 pushups… yowch! How many minutes can YOU last!? I managed to stay in the game for 13 minutes, which is a grand total of 18 pushups.

By Libby Babet
Founder of Bottoms Up! Fitness & AGOGA

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