AS ANY GOOD PERSONAL TRAINER OR COACH WILL TELL YOU, IF YOU’RE NOT ASSESSING, THEN YOU’RE JUST GUESSING.
Starting any new programme or training block with a battery of tests will benefit your fitness in various ways:
- You’ll get a clear picture of current fitness and strength levels.
- The results provide a baseline from which you can measure your progress when you retest yourself.
DIY fitness testing
But you don’t need to perform complex, expensive or extravagant fitness tests under the supervision of a qualified fitness professional to benchmark your fitness.
There are a few basic tests that you can do yourself at home or in the gym. While basic in nature, they will still provide valuable insights into your current fitness levels and help you get the most from your training plan as you track and quantify your progress over time.
Tight, inflexible muscles can increase your injury risk and compromise movement efficiency. A flexibility test will highlight any potential tight areas that may require additional focus with daily mobility drills and dynamic stretching or even rehab.
Balance is broadly defined as your ability to maintain your centre of mass over the base of support, which is vital during exercise for efficient movement and reduced injury risk. Balance from both a bilateral (both legs) and unilateral (one leg at a time) perspective is also important to create a stable foundation from which you can lift increasingly heavier weights over time.
A balance test can pick up any differences between your left and right side, which could indicate a muscle or strength imbalance that you should address to prevent injury and create a body that works efficiently as an integrated system.
One minute strength tests are a great way to benchmark your current strength levels and track progress periodically, ideally every 4-6 weeks.
A one minute test can be applied to just about any exercise and measures the strength endurance of that specific muscle group.
You don’t need to be hooked up to fancy machines while on a treadmill to determine your current fitness level. A simple step test will do the trick!
Perform these tests before you start your programme and record your results. After the you complete the 4-week plan, you can perform the same battery of tests to benchmark your progress and see how far you’ve really come!