You may be able to lift heavy weights, or run for 30 minutes without getting tired at all. You may be able to do burpees and arm commandos, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in great shape. Of course the fact that you can do those exercises is great and definitely says a lot about your overall condition and strength. However there is a lot more to evaluate when it comes to your overall level of fitness.
F.Y.I These exercises were selected by Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise so he knows what he is talking about 😉
I would dare to say that I am a Fit Girl. My endurance is good and my strength has improved tremendously ever since I started going to the gym. I also have a lot of flexibility and elasticity in my body since I practiced gymnastics for some years. So yeah, I’m on the right track! Or so I thought. When I came across these exercises which Mr. McCall said are indicators of whether you are fit or not, I immediately had tried them all to see whether I was as fit as I thought. These exercises test your hip mobility, flexibility and lateral strength. If you’re strong and flexible in each of these areas, it will help to keep you away from injuries.
5 Simple exercises to test if you are Fit
Seated to standing
Perhaps the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear this is “oh that’s an easy exercise”, but actually there is a lot more to it than what you think. To test whether you can do it, go sit on the floor in Indian-style and from there try to stand up completely without using your hands at all. Also avoid placing them on the ground. Being able to do this is an indicator of your overall balance, coordination and strength. Doing this exercise engages your hips when you lift your body off of the floor, while your core muscles keep your spine stable. If you find yourself needing to use a hand, then this exercise should become a regular part of your warm-up or cool-down. Keep doing it until you are able to do this movement without using your hands multiple times in a row.
Being able to hold a front plank for 50 seconds is great. However if you really want to test the overall state of your body you should do side planks. When you do a side plank, you test your lateral strength and hip stability, which is super important to protect your knees from injuries. To test it, start by lying on your right side and balancing on your right forearm and foot. Lift your hips off the ground, making sure you engage your obliques, and time how long you can comfortably hold this position.
You should be able to hold the position easily for about 30 to 45 seconds, if you can’t, then this is something you have to improve. It is super important that you test this on both sides of your body and see if you are able to hold the position for the same amount of time for both sides. If you can’t, then this might be an indicator of a muscle imbalance which puts you at a greater risk of developing an injury.
An overhead squat is a squat with your arms raised over your head which tests your stability and mobility. When you do it, your ankles and hips are supposed to be mobile, your lumbar spine is supposed to be stable and your shoulders should have stability and mobility. In order to test if you can do this exercise correctly, stand in front of a mirror, lower into a squat while keeping your spine completely straight and your arms lifted over your head. You should be able to get your legs parallel to the ground as if you were sitting back in a chair.
If you can do this, good news, you are in great shape! But if your knees hurt, or you can’t keep your arms over your head or if it’s difficult to perform the movement of sinking down for more than 3 to 5 repetitions, then your overall mobility and flexibility need improvement.
To improve this, try to do the same movement but holding something overhead with your arms, like a broomstick. Holding something gives your arms something to focus on. Consequently your hips are able to sink a little lower.
This exercise is great to test your range of motion. To do it, stand up straight, put yourself on a straight line with one foot about 2 feet (or 61 cm) in front of the other and lower into a lunge so your back knee comes towards the front ankle. Ideally, you should be able to do between 3 and 5 reps maintaining a perfectly tall spine with both sides of your body. However, most of us have a stronger side, meaning that the weaker side tends to force your body into a different range of motion. This is what makes you feel like you are losing your balance as you lower down. To correct this, you should try adding Bulgarian split squats to your routine a few times a week. This is a great alternative, because you use your hamstrings and adductors at the same time to extend and sink lower in front of the hip instead of using just your glutes to control the movement.
There is nothing better than performing a push up with proper form to test your overall total-body strength. You should be able to do a push-up raising your hips and shoulders at the same time and moving up and down in a straight line. If you notice that your butt sticks in the air or your hips stay on the ground while you rise your shoulders, that can be an indicator of weakness in your core and spine. To test yourself try to do 3 to 4 full-body push-ups and make sure your elbows are pointing back as if they were positioned at 4 or 8 on a clock.
Go ahead and do these exercises. Who knows, maybe you realize there are still some muscles you need to work which you didn’t know before!
SOURCE: Fitness Magazine