Have you ever taken an exercise test? Most of us train day in day out without ever taking an exercise test, but assessing your performance on a regular basis is a good way to help you achieve more.
It's widely accepted that setting good goals is one of the best ways to stay motivated and achieve more, and this is very true for sports and fitness. Most of us have goals when we workout - get stronger, lose weight, improve at a sport, train for a race - so it makes sense to use exercise tests to measure how you are progressing.
There are dozens of exercise tests to choose from, some of which require expensive equipment and a coach to administer them, others of which you can do by yourself.
For most people the interest will lie in those assessments that you can quickly and easily do yourself. The main areas that people assess are strength, speed, and flexibility. Some of the most common assessments that you can administer yourself include:
- Strength: For pure strength the most popular type of assessment is a 1RM (one rep maximum). This is often done on bench press or squats to measure upper or lower body strength.
- Speed: Speed can be measured over a variety of distances. Athletes or sports people have distances relevant to their particular events (for example, many sports people regularly run 40m sprints), but for general fitness, time trialing over 1.5 miles is good measure.
- Flexibility: There are many measures of flexibility, the most common measure being the sit and reach test, which measures low back and hamstring flexibility.