What is your baseline fitness? Whatever your goals are for 2023, you need a baseline measurement. I could list all of the results you are supposed to get, like being able to hang on a bar for 1 minute, but rather than seeing if you measure up to what a group of people has decided you should be able to do (which takes into account age at a rapid depreciating rate, which I am not a fan of), how about I challenge you in the first week of January to perform the exercises that you are able to that are listed below. In December of 2023, do them again and see how you do. You can access your progress every quarter, but no more than that. It may be counterproductive.
I am a big believer in science. The science of muscle strength, hypertrophy, and endurance, states that you will see a return based on your deposit. When you stress your muscles, it signals your body to get stronger and last longer. Your muscle fibers are renewed every 3-4 months and will be replaced stronger or weaker. It is up to you. The wonder of our body is that we have control unless we break a bone and have a cast. I do have a solution for that as well, but let’s assess where our level of fitness lands.
Here is a long list of exercises from which to choose. Email me if you need clarification on any of these exercises.
Full body strength and endurance
Farmer carry – The test uses 75% of your weight, but you can use whatever you can. How many feet can you travel before putting down the weight? How many feet can you travel in 2 minutes?
Stair climbing – Use the stair climber at a gym or go to your favorite stadium or at least a four-story building. For the stadium or building, how long does it take you to climb to the top, or how long does it take you to climb four stories? For the stair climber, how many stories can you climb in 5 minutes?
Sit up – With your knees bent 90 degrees and laying on your back, have a friend secure your feet to the ground. With your arms crossed in front of you, keeping in contact with your chest, raise your back entirely off the ground (about 80 degrees perpendicular to the ground) and return to the ground, so your shoulder blades touch the ground.
Plank – Get into a plank position with your elbows on the ground and your body perfectly straight. Hold this position as long as you can.
Run/walk – How far can you go in 12:00? Download a program that has GPS and track your distance.
Burpees – Perform a burpee where your chest touches the ground, and you jump completely off the ground. Set a timer for 2 minutes and see how many you can do.
Urg – 2K as fast as you can.
Line Shuttle – Measure 2 lines at least 15 yards apart and at the most 25 yards apart. How long does it take for you to touch 12 lines (6 round trips)?
Lower body strength
Air squat – Keeping your feet flat and bending at the hip and knee (not bending over forward but pushing your hip backward) until your hip is at or below your knee. How many can you do in 1 or 2 minutes, or how long does it take you to do 50 or 100?
Wall sit – With your back against a wall, your tibia/fibula (lower leg) perpendicular to the ground, and your knees at 90 degrees, how long can you sit in that position?
Upper body strength
Push up – With your body in a straight plank and your hands under your shoulders or outside your shoulders, drop down, so a loose shirt touches the ground (or have a friend put a fist underneath your sternum and touch the fist) and come all the way back into full extension. How many push-ups in a row can you do, or how many push-ups in 1 or 2 minutes?
Pull up – With your hands shoulder-width apart, how many times can you raise your body enough that your chin is over the bar without dropping off the bar? No kicking, kipping, or swinging. Another way is how many pull-ups can you do in 1 minute?
Suspension rows (ring rows) at 0 stage – Position the handles or rings, so they touch the top of your hip bone. Put your feet under the place where the straps are attached. Lean back and perform as many rows as you can in 1 minute, or how long it takes you to perform 50 rows?
Bar flexed hang – Beginning with your chin above the bar in a pull-up position, how long can you hang?
Bar hang – With your hand’s shoulder width apart, how long can you hang without regripping or falling off the bar?
Overhead squat test – Face the wall with your toes towards the wall. With your arms overhead, squat all the way down. If you cannot squat so your hips are beneath or level to your knees (making your thighs perpendicular to the ground), measure how low you can go and forget about the overhead aspect. If you are performing the movement with your hands over your head, how many inches from the wall do you need to move back to accomplish a full squat?
Sit and reach test – Sitting on the ground with your legs straight and 12 inches apart. Put a piece of tape where your heels end. Reach as far as you can past your heels (if possible). Measure the distance from your heels with your heel line being zero. If you can’t reach your heels, that is a minus measurement. If you can reach past your heels, that is a plus measurement.
Shoulder flexibility – Standing straight with your arms perfectly straight, raise your arms with the end of the movement is your bicep/tricep touching your ear. Do it with your right and then left, and then try it with both.
Standing Broad Jump – From a standing position, jump as far as possible. Wherever your back foot lands is your distance.
Vertical Jump – Stand next to a high wall or post and mark the highest point you can touch with your heels on the ground. From a stationary position (no running start), jump as high as possible and mark the highest point you touched. Measure the distance between the two marks.
Stork Test – Stand on 1 foot with the other foot resting on the knee of the balancing leg. See how long you can balance without losing the connection of the foot to the knee.
Body Composition tests
Hip To Waist Ratio – Measure your hips at the biggest part and your waist at the smallest part (usually right above the belly button). Divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference.
This test is good for measuring how much fat is being stored in the mid-section of your body and is a much better predictor of health outcomes than BMI.
.80 or lower
.95 or lower
.86 or higher
BMI – You can look up a chart on the internet to see your calculation.
This test is a general test using the average of average. This is not a great test, but it can give you an idea if you are close to where you need to be.
Beyond these tests are strength testing of 1 rep max and others. I do not suggest performing 1 rep max testing unless you are in good condition and have good form. I also advise you to do any 1 rep max test with a professional trainer to spot you and assess your form. There are 1 rep max calculators, so you don’t have to lift your actual 1 rep max in the following exercises. You can perform 3-5 reps and calculate your 1 rep max, which I believe to be much safer.
· Bench press
· Military Press
· Dead Lift
· Lat Pulldown
*** I strongly caution against performing these assessments unless a professional is assessing you and you are in good condition and understand and use proper form.
If you are not working out at all, then resist the urge (if you have one) to go 100% on the above exercises. Go easy, or you will pay dearly for it with injury or soreness. If you haven’t worked out in a while, do a couple of reps of the above exercises to see if you can safely perform them. I use these as measuring rods, and I only use them when it is safe for the client. If you think you are in good shape, it would be enlightening to perform these exercises and see whether you are in good condition. If you are ready for growth in your fitness, then these exercises are a great tool to see your progress. Be safe and enjoy.