To find out how your strength and fitness measures up against the rest of humanity here’s some easy tests you can do in the comfort (and privacy) of your own home. Hopefully the results aren’t too disturbing for you ;-) Either way they are handy to keep a record of to monitor progress. Retesting about once a month is the way to go.
1) UPPER BODY MUSCULAR FITNESS ASSESSMENT
This is easy to do – count how many press ups (push ups) you can do without stopping or losing proper form. Guys do the traditional ‘military’ press ups with legs straight and toes on the floor. Women do the ‘modified’ press ups with a knees bent position (kneeling on the floor). Hands are palms down on the floor and positioned slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Arms should straighten without completely locking out the elbows, and the lower back should be ‘strong’ and not sagging. Lower your chest down until it almost touches the floor before pushing back up to the start position. Repeat until your upper body screams no more. Write down your end result and then compare it to the following table to find out whether you are a fitness machine, or in need of some serious rehab.
2) LOWER BODY MUSCULAR FITNESS ASSESSMENT
It’s a good idea to warm up before this one, you’ll soon be feeling like toast so prepare yourself. This is simple, squat ‘til you drop. Find a chair or bench. The ideal height is one where your knees are at right angles when you are sitting on it. Stand facing away and in front of the chair/bench, with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Squat down until you feel yer butt lightly touch the chair/bench then rise back up to the standing position. This counts as one squat. Repeat and count the squats until total exhaustion sets in and your legs have reached burn out. Write down the magic number and compare it to the following table for your personal lower body assessment.
3) ABDOMINAL MUSCULAR FITNESS ASSESSMENT
Strong Abs are important for healthy posture and back support. Martial artists also believe that the midsection is the source of our ‘power’. They say power originates from a point just below the navel, called the ‘Hara’ in Japanese, or ‘Tantien’ in Chinese. So today let’s take a look at how strong your power source really is.
This test will measure the strength and endurance of your Abs. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands palms down on your thighs. Curl up sliding your hands along your thighs until they touch your knees, then lower back down until your upper back touches the floor. I admit, this test is the most painful of the three, it’s intense!
Count how many complete curls you can do in 1 minute then compare your result to the chart below. If you can’t make it through a whole minute this is fine, just stop wherever you get to. For this test be particularly careful with form, if you feel your neck straining too much it’s best to stop. And make sure you do full movements - no cheating!