3 Fitness testing exercises to see how physically fit you are

  • 1 Minute Read
Ryan Newhouse - health writer, MyNetDiary

You probably know your weight, but it might take a few fitness testing exercises to learn how physically fit you are. Take these simple tests to see where you rank according to the fitness level charts.

Fitness testing exercises

Testing your fitness level with 3 simple exercises

Chances are that you already step on the scale regularly or try on your favorite pair of "skinny jeans" to see if you're trimming up. But what about your level of fitness?

Whether you wish to start a fitness routine, or you want to boost your current workout regimen, now might be the perfect time to assess just how fit you are. You can also see how far you advance in the coming months. Ideally, perform these fitness testing exercises about every three months to evaluate your progress.

1. Push-ups

Push-ups are a multi-muscle exercise that engages the core and upper body. One of the most effective ways to measure your push-up strength is to record how many you can do without resting (or modifying between full push-ups and modified push-ups). This is often called the "fatigue" model. Although not a timed test, see if you can do push-ups for a full minute. Here's a handy age-adjusted fitness level chart for comparison, based on the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) standards.

Ratings for Men (Full Push-ups)

20-29 years 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent > 54 > 44 > 39 > 34 > 29
Good 45-54 35-44 30-39 25-34 20-29
Average 35-44 24-34 20-29 15-24 10-19
Poor 20-34 15-24 12-19 8-14 5-9
Very Poor < 20 < 15 < 12 < 8 < 5

Ratings for Women (Modified Push-ups)

20-29 years 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent > 48 > 39 > 34 > 29 > 19
Good 34-48 25-39 20-34 15-29 5-19
Average 17-33 12-24 8-19 6-14 3-4
Poor 6-16 4-11 3-7 2-5 1-2
Very Poor < 6 < 4 < 3 < 2 < 1

2. Squat flexibility

To measure leg strength, core strength, and flexibility, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart and sit back into a squat. Squat as low as you can (never letting your knees extend beyond your toes), and have a friend measure the distance between your glutes and the floor. Over time, attempt to decrease the distance.

3. The crunch test

To measure the strength and endurance in your abdominal muscles, you can't beat the crunch test. The goal is simple: do as many crunches as you can in one minute. To do a proper crunch, keep your hands at your side on the floor with palms down throughout the test. Engage your abs to lift your head and shoulders away from the floor and crunch so that your fingers slide at least six inches from their starting position. It may be helpful to place a six-inch marker beside you and only count the crunches when you hit the marker. Have a friend help you determine a successful crunch. You can rest, but the timer never stops. The ACSM has published these age-adjusted guidelines for crunches:

Ratings for Men

< 35 years 35-44 > 45
Excellent 60 50 40
Good 45 40 25
Mediocre 30 25 15
Needs Improvement 15 10 5

Ratings for Women

< 35 years 35-44 > 45
Excellent 50 40 30
Good 40 25 15
Mediocre 25 15 10
Needs Improvement 10 6 4

So how did you do on your fitness testing exercises? What needs improvement? Monitor your progress by recording these measurements in the notes section of MyNetDiary and check back on them each time you take the test. Good luck!

Content updated on 9/16/21 by Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES

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Sep 17, 2021

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