Jamies success Jamies success

Health and Fitness Testing

Fitness testing is all part of the personal training experience

Whatever the reasons that you are training I find that if you have a marker of where you are now it will be so much easier to keep your training up as you can always look back and see just how much the exercise is paying off.  Have a look at some of these tests below and have a crack at noting down some results.

Resting heart rate (RHR) – An obvious one that most of you will have had tested when you go for a medical with work or if you visit the doctor. Improving your resting heart rate is usually thought to be achieved through cardiovascular exercise with well known distance athletes such as Lance Armstrong said to have heart rates as low as 30 bpm (beats per minute). The way in which you will be training on the Pecs in the City program will not include anywhere near the amounts of cardiovascular exercise that most of these guys do but it will involve a different sort of workout which will still improve your resting heart rate and bring it to a healthy level if it is elevated.

The best time to check your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning, preferably at a weekend, when you have had a good nights sleep. Place your index and middle fingers on the underside of your wrist, usually slightly off center away from the body, an inch or so below the area where your hand meets the wrist. Relax the arm that you are testing so that it is supported and hold the fingers on the pulse, once you have found its strongest point, for either 15 or 30 seconds. Use the simple method of multiplying the time held to get your resting BPM. You can hold for the full minute if you like.

Blood pressure – Another very common test of health that you will see improve over the time that you embark on this program and very easy to measure. Consult a doctor for this or a fitness trainer can do it for you also. Failing that you can buy a blood pressure monitor from your local superstore, internet or larger pharmacies and do it yourself. This is very easy now and no longer involves using a stethoscope and pump as it used to involve in years past.

Take the measurement when in a rested state such as in the morning when first waking, preferably after waking naturally as an alarm screaming at you at 5am will more than likely elevate your BP a little.

A good guide for blood pressure readings are:

  • Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.
  • High normal blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)is 140/90 or above.
  • Very high blood pressure (hypertension) is 180/110 or above.

Looking at the readings above the aim is to be below or around the bottom level of normal but the room for movement here is quite large so if your levels are a bit above normal then do not worry. However, if you do test your blood pressure and find it over 140/90 please see a doctor before you begin this regime.

There are other tests such as cholesterol and lung capacity tests but we will not discuss them here. I would just say that the more data you have the better but if you stick to the above you will be nicely on track.

Fitness Tests

There are literally hundreds of fitness tests that can be used to test all parameters of fitness ranging from upper body strength, power, speed, endurance, flexibility and many more. We are here to get an amazing body so don’t want to waste too much time testing differing aspects.

Instead I have listed a few very basic tests below if you are the type of guy who likes to see stats and figures for your progress. The method of testing I find most effective and satisfying is to actually go straight into the training, after a warm up, and just note the variables such as weight lifted, distance covered, repetitions completed etc as you go along. That said, try these if you want to see a more structured approach to your progress:

Upper Dody: Pressup test – This is a great test for your upper body especially the chest, shoulders and arms.

Instructions

  1. Lie on the ground, place your hands by your shoulders and straighten your arms for the start position
  2. Lower your body until your elbows reach 90° and then extend your arms to return to the start position
  3. Continue this press-up action, with no rest, until you are unable to continue
  4. Count and record the number of correctly completed press-ups

Press up test during the 12 week body transformation

If you are unable to do any press ups then mark this down as a zero for now and come back to the test in a couple of weeks after you have started exercising as I can guarantee you will be able to crack out at least one.

The following table shows the level that you are currently at and what to aim for in the future:

Personal Trainer London City

Lower Body Strength Test: Squats – This exercise uses all the muscles of the lower body and will be a major exercise during your 12 week transformation.

Instructions

  1. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly.
  2. Brace your core and lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are in line with your feet.
  3. Drive through your heels to push back to the start.
  4. The test is over when you can’t maintain perfect form.

Body Weight Squat

The following table shows the level that you are currently at and what to aim for in the future:

London City Personal Training

Core Strength Test: Plank – The plank is an exercise that you will see performed a lot in the gym and is a simple yet effective way to measure how strong your core muscle currently are.

Instructions

  1. With elbows on the floor hold your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  2. Keep your feet together and your elbows beneath your shoulders.
  3. Look straight down and brace for as long as you can.
  4. Focus on keeping your hips from dropping or lifting too high.
  5. As soon as you lose control and drop the test is over.

The plank test to test core strength on the 12 week warrior workout

Your core strength is very important and should be just as strong whatever your age so there are no differences for age with this test.

Plank Exercise Timing

Cardiovascular Endurance Test – 1 kilometre run – This is as simple as running this relatively short distance as fast as you can. I am a big believer that you do not need long cardiovascular drills or runs to get a great body or a healthy body so this combines a bit more speed with the cardiovascular than a longer test would.

Instructions

  • It is preferable that you use a running track over the treadmill here but if you only have access to a treadmill then make sure you keep the gradient at one percent.
  • Walking is permitted but try and run as much as possible

Cardio Timing

Overall Strength Test – Hand grip test – This is my favourite test as it is very simple and easily tested.
This test is deemed to be the best indicator of overall strength with the fire and police services using it as one of their prerequisite tests.

Instructions

  1. Ask your local gym or purchase a grip strength dynamometer
  2. Use your dominant hand and apply as much grip pressure as possible on the dynamometer.
  3. Take the other hands measurements as well just to keep track.
  4. Record the maximum reading in kilogram

Grip strength is important to build strength

Grip Test Chart

Even if you only gather half of the data that is possible here you are still way ahead of most people when they embark on a health kick as you should now have clarity of knowing exactly where you are. How can you plan a journey without knowing where you are starting from? Nearly everyone who joins a gym in January or enlists the help of a personal trainer begins their journey without real knowledge of where they are and I see this as one of the main reasons these good intentions fail.

Okay so now you know exactly where you are and where you want to be it’s time to move ahead.