Let’s face it: We all have different fitness goals and starting points. Whether you’ve been consistently active or have recently fallen off the fitness wagon, having a clear understanding of your current fitness level is the first step toward a healthier, fitter you. To help you determine how in shape you are, we asked Rose McNulty, CPT, NASM-certified personal trainer and nutrition coach with Garage Gym Reviews, to provide a fitness test that you can do on your own and evaluate your fitness. If you’ve asked yourself, “How out of shape am I?” before, well, keep reading, because McNulty’s test will reveal instantly.
This test encompasses a variety of exercises and movements that target different aspects of fitness, including strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and more. Following this test will equip you with valuable insights into your overall fitness level and inspire you to get more active. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and two days of strength training each week.
Understanding your current fitness level can be a powerful motivator to help you set realistic goals, track your progress, and adjust your fitness routine. Regardless of your health and fitness goals, having a baseline assessment is crucial for designing an effective and personalized fitness plan.
“No matter your fitness goals, specific movements foster total-body strength and should be a part of regular fitness assessments to see where you are,” says McNulty. “For each exercise below, your goals will vary depending on age, sex, and fitness level. While these numbers are examples for you to aim for, you can adjust these benchmarks to suit your fitness level. Record your progress, then retest to see how much progress you’ve made in a few months with consistent training.”
Read on for McNulty’s effective test to find out what shape you’re in so you can reclaim your health and boost your fitness. Then, don’t miss A Trainer’s Favorite Workout Will Test How Fit You Really Are.
Test your upper-body strength and endurance with the max pushups in one minute challenge. This classic exercise targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps, giving you a clear indication of your upper-body pushing capabilities.
McNulty tells us, “Pushups measure both upper-body strength and endurance. Perform as many pushups as possible in one minute, ensuring you stick to perfect form and a full range of motion. As a baseline, women should aim to do ten push-ups with perfect form in one minute, and men at least 15.”
Prepare to feel the burn and test your leg strength and stamina with the wall sit exercise. Holding a seated position against a wall will engage your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
“The wall sit [is] a simple exercise, but it’s a great way to test your lower-body stability and strength,” says McNulty. “The key is ensuring your posture and form stay perfect throughout. Once you place your back against the wall and slide your torso down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, stay as still as possible. Aim to wall sit for at least 45 seconds, consistently improving your time as you train.”
The following plank test will assess your core strength and endurance, providing insights into your core stability and strength.
“Try holding a plank position with good form for as long as possible. Ensure your hips stay low and your body forms a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Aim to do a plank for at least one minute straight. If this isn’t possible, pay attention to the work you do for your abs and overall core to improve your time. Once you’ve reached one minute, aim for two!” says McNulty.
This fundamental movement is a killer. You’ll engage your back, biceps, and forearm muscles by hanging onto a bar and pulling your body upward while measuring your upper-body pulling strength.
“Pull-ups are strict, and only some lifters can even complete one,” states McNulty. “You may need assistance from a pull-up machine or resistance bands for this test if you can’t do one pull-up just yet. Men and women should perform at least eight or one to three consecutive pull-ups, respectively.”
This fitness test wouldn’t be complete without a cardio component. This aerobic endurance test will challenge your stamina and cardiovascular system.
“To measure your cardiovascular fitness, complete a 1.5-mile run as quickly as possible with good form. For this test, you only need a place to run and a fitness watch or timer. Ideally, you’d also track your heart rate to gauge your progress. Men and women in their 20s should aim to complete the 1.5-mile run in 11 and 13 minutes, respectively,” says McNulty.
Flexibility is an often neglected aspect of fitness but is crucial for overall physical well-being. McNulty says, “This standard test of lower back and hamstring flexibility is a go-to. It’s simple, safe when done correctly, and provides an objective way to measure flexibility. Sit on the floor with your legs extended, feet against a box or a wall, and measure the distance you can reach forward while keeping your knees straight. Aim to get past your toes, but do not push yourself too hard as you attempt to reach them. Gently reach forward and stop right away if you feel any pain.”