When you are beginning a workout program or after a long layoff, you will benefit from performing a fitness test. This will give you a baseline on some basic movements. There is no right or wrong when performing a fitness test. There are many tests out there. Just perform the same one at least twice so that you can see your progress with that particular test.
This test doesn't grade you like others. Some tests, for example, will state if you do 0-10 it is poor, 11-20 it is fair, and 21-30 if good. I've never believed a fitness test should try to grade your fitness. They should only establish a baseline so you can measure your improvement. This one simply puts you through 5 basic tests that are relatively easy to perform and record. The only goal is improvement, not certain level of improvement. Sure, if you get to a certain fitness level and begin competing, you'll want to perform other tests that are more specific to what you are doing. For fitness beginners, you just need something basic. This is just a guideline. You could make up your own test based on your lifestyle and job. You might want to use some tasks you perform at work and design a test around that.
Below is a simple and easy one to perform.
1. Get your blood pressure taken for free at CVS or Walgreens pharmacies. Call to make sure your location offers this. This is very important for two main reasons; the first is to check high blood pressure so that any irregularities might be detected. If you are unsure, make an appointment with your personal doctor. The second reason is so you will have your resting heart rate. This is important because as your fitness improves, your resting heart rate will decrease. Improved cardiovascular health is one of the main by products of getting fit.
2. Sit and reach test. You'll simply sit on the floor with you feet against a wall. You will then reach as far as you can toward the wall. Measure in inches the distance from your fingertips to the wall. Have someone help you with this if needed. If you can reach past your toes, measure how far past and keep a record of this, because you will perform the same test at regular incriments.
3. Grip strength test. You will hang onto a bar overhead that will allow your feet to dangle off the floor. This could be a chin up bar in the gym or anything around your home. Use a chair if needed to get up. All you do is grab the bar and hang. Time yourself until you have to let go and that is your baseline grip strength.
4. Push up test. Count the number of total push-ups you can do with good form. Remember to keep your body straight and lower yourself down slowly. Do as many as you can at one time without resting. If you can't go all the way down, it doesn't count.
5. One mile run. This is done either on a treadmill, a track, or on any path you choose where you know the distance. If you use a treadmill, it should be set with no incline and a speed that allows you to run comfortably. You don't want it too fast where you are struggling to keep up or too slow where you are waiting on the machine. If you need to slow down and walk, that is fine too. The goal is really to get a one mile travel time. It doesn't matter if it's running, jogging or walking. Simply record how long it takes you to travel one mile. When you repeat this, you'll of course want to use the same method each time.
That is all you need to do. Record all of your reps and times and repeat every 4-6 weeks. If you are consistent, you'll feel results before you see them in your next test.
Once you've tested your fitness, you'll be ready to start seeing and monitoring your improvement. Check out these beginner exercise tips.