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Evaluate Your Fitness Level

Ways to assess your muscle composition and strength, cardiovascular endurance, and aerobic health

Muscle Composition and Strength

The easiest and most efficient way to measure muscular composition and strength, is to perform a few simple fitness tests. To begin, you must first record a few measurements. The first measurement will be your weight. Next, you will measure your waist circumference. This measurement should be used in comparison to the measurement of your hips. If the circumference of your waist is less than or equal the measurement of your hips, you are considered to be in good shape. Next, you will use a BMI calculation or Body Mass Index calculation to determine your body fat. To calculate this, you must divide your weight in pounds, by your height in square inches. You then multiply that by 703. Use the calculator here to interpret your result. Once your results are interpreted, you should begin the fitness tests. The three most commonly used fitness tests are the push-up test, the plank test, and the sit-up test.

To perform the push-up test, you must first establish proper form to avoid injury. Lie face down on the floor, bend your arms at the elbows, and place your palms even with your shoulders. Keep your feet together and keep your body as level as possible. Push up until your arms are fully extended and then lower yourself to the ground in a controlled motion until your chin touches the floor. Repeat this exercise until you feel you need to stop for a rest. You can use the designated chart to evaluate your results. 

To perform the sit-up test, you must establish proper form before beginning. Lie on your back and bend your knees at an approximate forty-five-degree angle. Plant your feet firmly on the group to maintain the bend in your knee. If it is easier, you may place your feet at the base of a wall or hard surface to avoid moving, or have a partner hold your feet in place. To begin the exercise, you will move into the “up” position. To do this you will move your upper body in a controlled motion towards the direction of your knees without moving your legs or buttocks. Once you have completed the “up” step, move back to the “down” position in a controlled manner. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can in one minute and then evaluate your results using the correct table below. 

To perform the simplest but perhaps the most challenging test; the plank test, it is imperative you first establish proper form. You begin the exercise the exact same way as the push-up, however instead of returning to the ground you remain in the air. There are two possible ways you can perform this test. The first way is to perform the test with your arms fully extended. The second way, is to perform the test on your elbows. You should attempt both techniques to determine which is most comfortable for you. You should hold this plank for as long as you can to assess your core and upper body strength. This is a reliable test because it assesses how well you are able to support your own body weight.

Cardiovascular Endurance 

To understand your cardiovascular health, you must measure a few factors. The first thing you will wish to measure is your resting heart rate. To measure this, you will need to locate the pulse over your carotid artery. To do this take your index and middle finger and place them on your neck just below your jaw over the site  where you can feel a strong pulse. You will then count the number of beats for an entire minute. The target resting heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute.

After you have measured your resting heart rate, you must calculate your target heart rate zone. These rates can be measured the same way as your resting heart rate but should fall in the categories indicated in the table.

 

Aerobic Health

The most accurate and efficient way to determine aerobic health is to time yourself and evaluate your pace of a 1.5 mile jog or run. The average time for a healthy male is approximately 7:00 min.  The avergae time for a healthy female is approximately 9:00 min. 

 

Recommended Fitness Apps

(click for app names for more info)

 

Nike+ Run Club

Run Tracking and Training Plans

Gixo

Fitness