You may or may not be aware that fitness assessments are numerous and varied, but the majority of tests are centered on five health related elements: muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardio-vascular endurance and body composition. Muscular Strength, Even if your fitness goals are weight loss and body tone, you will boost your ability to burn fat by increasing your muscular strength. This will also promote the growth of stronger bones, ligaments and tendons. Testing muscular strength is generally done with the push-up test. You may be timed on how many repetitions you can do in one minute, or we may run a tempo test where you do one push-up every three seconds until you can do no more. If you are female, you may do a modified push-up with your knees resting on the ground.
Muscular Endurance, All forms of aerobic exercise require muscular endurance because muscles that can perform for longer will in turn be stronger resulting in a lower incidence of injury. We may use abdominal strength as a good indicator of overall muscular endurance and can test it with timed planks or curl-ups. For this assessment your endurance is measured according to how long you can hold your full or modified plank for or how many curl-ups you can do. A full plank is like the raised part of a push-up, or you can rest on your elbows for a modified plank. With curl-ups, you lie flat on your back with your arms down by your sides and your knees bent. A measuring strip of four to five inches is placed at your fingertips and you raise your upper body up to reach the far side of the measuring strip with your fingertips for each curl-up.
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Flexibility, this is required for all forms of exercise in order to move freely without pain or limitations. We may use the sit and reach test for lower back and hamstring flexibility as a general guide. Sitting flat on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and your toes pointing skyward, you are expected to reach toward or beyond your toes. Your knees remain flat on the floor while the measurement is taken between your fingertips and your toes.
Cardiovascular endurance, you need to elevate your heart rate for a sustained period of time in order to benefit from the aerobic element of exercise. For a simple fitness assessment of cardiovascular endurance you may be asked to do a timed mile (or half mile) run. A Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Runs (PACER) test can be done as an alternative. Body Composition, in order to determine your body’s fat composition, we need to take accurate measurements. Using a skinfold caliper, we may measure your skinfold thickness in your calf and triceps regions. We may also measure your height and weight to determine your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is a reliable indicator of whether you are under or overweight or whether your BMI falls within normal parameters.